Getting playing with social networking

As some may have noticed, I deleted my social networking accounts on Facebook and MySpace a while back. The reason for this largely had to do with the fact that keeping them up-to-date basically leads to an addiction. Not to mention the terms of use, privacy, and poor design of these social networks. However, I’ve also come to learn that without social networking, you basically lose track of everyone you actually want to keep track of. Turns out that there are not many users on instant messaging anymore; they’re all on Facebook.

I’ve been working on methods to integrate social networking with things I already have in a manner that will not completely drive me insane. This goal, at least for me, seemed at first to be an intractable problem, considering how easily I am annoyed by such things.

The intermediate and most important step in accomplishing this goal was to first integrate Twitter. My website already has a microblog application called BBird. Integrating BBird with Twitter was rather trivial, since most of the code I had already written. Writing a function to also post entries to Twitter was just a few lines of PHP script.  The next step was to have my blog and pictures integrated with Twitter. This was accomplished by using a service called RSS2Twitter. As phpGraphy and WordPress have RSS feeds, RSS2Twitter creates a tweet for each RSS item every 6 hours.

The reason for Twitter being the intermediate step is because once it is on Twitter, it can be easily exported everywhere else. Using an application in Facebook called TweetSync, any time a tweet is made, Facebook status is set to that tweet with about a 2 minute delay. Setting this sort of functionality isn’t possible in MySpace, since it is pretty limited. As far as I can tell, there is no simple way to have the MySpace status updated by Twitter (it only goes the other direction). As a substitution, I used a MySpace application called iTwitter to put a frame on my MySpace profile that displays the current tweets. That’s as good as it gets.

Below is a diagram of this arrangement:


Software such as Trillian Astra, IM+, and Pidgin have the ability to use some or all of the chat and notification features from Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. The result is that the need for me to actually visit these sites is minimized. Turning off wall and comment features also limits the need for me to check.

So, check out my contact page and add me to your services!