Twitter as a feed aggregator

By Nick Holmes on February 12, 2009
One comment
Filed under Twitter

A couple of months back OPSI set up a Twitter account for @legislation, feeding it with the OPSI new legislation feeds. That will reach out to a wider audience than the feeds themselves, but I wonder what that wider audience will make of it. Evidence is as yet scant (samples: “Wow, this is cool – if somewhat indigestible”; “a fascinating feed. Whoever knew so much law was going on!”)

@HMGOV is an unofficial Twitter aggregation of official news feeds from UK Government put together by Justin Kerr-Stevens who blogs at Extended Reach. That’s been going 11 months now, has churned out over 18,000 tweets and attracted a steady flow of responses.

There must be many such aggregations. It’s difficult to judge how useful they are to others. As for me, I’ll track the feeds I want to follow in Google Reader and can’t see that I would find any value in following someone else’s Twitter account for this. But others are not like me and a Twitter feed aggregation will provide value for some.

My own stab at this is @lawtweets which aggregates a few useful law news feeds. Dead simple, but I hope reasonably effective in delivering some useful updates to intersperse the chat and perhaps spark some retweets or comments. Since starting it, I have canned the feeds from those of little value.

An issue I have with this lark is that it is wide open to abuse. It’s an invitation to spam artists. And, even used for legitimate purposes, the more users who feed feeds into Twitter, the sooner the pipes will clog up. Worse is the nightmare vision of the endless loops that would be created if feeds from Twitter accounts were piped into the same Twitter accounts – though maybe Twitter is clever enough to block that sort of tactic. Must test that one soon.

Others have similar fears.

One comment

I think your best feedback is the number of followers. I have 3 aggregator Twitter accounts (@CopyrightLaw, @PrivacyLaw and @InternetLaw) that have a steadily increasing number of followers. That is your best gauge.

by Michael Scott on 12 February 2009 at 7:13 pm. #