06 Jan 2009

How to Tweet your Google Reader Starred items

Sometimes I star articles in Google Reader that I find useful and that I think may also be useful to the people who follow me on Twitter [All 5 of them? Sorry. Carry on. €“ Lisa].  With a little research, I found that you can activate an RSS feed for your Starred items in Google Reader, and then from there, set it up to automatically Tweet a newly Starred item.

Originally, I was going to write a script to do this, but I found that it would be a lot easier to just use TwitterFeed instead of reinventing the wheel.  To get started, you are going to need a Google account and a TwitterFeed account. Both are free.

The first thing we need to do is turn on our Google Reader Starred items RSS feed.  We can do this by opening Google Reader and clicking on the settings link in the upper right hand corner.  Once in the settings dashboard, click on the Folders and Tags tab.

Click on Settings in the upper right corner of Google Reader

Activate your RSS feed by checking the box next to “Your Starred items”, then select “Public” in the dropdown menu.

Select Public in Drop Down Menu

Once that’s complete, your Google Reader Starred items RSS feed is now active and ready to use.  Click “view public page” to view your Starred items.  On the right hand side you will see an Atom Feed link.

Click Atom Feed

Follow that link and copy the URL.

Once that’s done, head over to Twitterfeed and log into your current or newly created account.  From the dashboard, click the “Create new Twitter feed” link.  Go ahead and fill out the form accordingly, pasting the Starred items link you copied earlier into the RSS feed field.  Don’t forget to change “title and description” to “title only” this will keep it short and sweet when it displays on Twitter.

Select title only from drop down menu

Then fill out what you would like the prefix to be, I chose to keep it a simple “I just Starred: ” for mine.  Once you have completed that, go ahead and click the “Create” button.  TwitterFeed can have a few hour waiting period before it will start sending your Starred items to Twitter, so just try to be patient.  Once TwitterFeed kicks in your Google Reader Starred items will start showing up on your Twitter timeline.

I just starred Tweet

Beware of over-starring, I know I get annoyed with people I follow on Twitter who like to let me know about the 20 articles they’ve read.  If people follow you because you are a superstar in your industry, then stick to those subjects. Don’t star political articles or unrelated content unless it’s something outrageous or funny.  I, myself(not that I’m a superstar), star things related to Web design/development, graphic design or when I find something funny that I think my followers will enjoy.

I hope you can put your Starred items to good use on Twitter.  Enjoy!