How to autopost your blogs and Twitter feed to Google Plus pages

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Please note that this does not work with Google Plus profiles, only pages – like this Vidyut page. Google has recently released an API to select partners, which allows posting to google plus pages. Of these, hootsuite is the only one that appears to be free. You can also use it as your social media manager, as it supports scheduling posts and viewing and posting to several streams simultaneously.

Many of us are not yet active on Google Plus, but would like to distribute our content there. Currently, the free account in Hootsuite allows you to have 5 social media profiles and 2 RSS streams, which can post to one social media profile in an automated manner. It is a simple matter to add your google plus page and plug in your blog feed to it. However, plugging in your twitter updates is not so simple.

You will need a server where you can serve php files. I have no idea how secure (or not) the script is, so it is best if it is isolated from any production site you have. As a subdomain or something. If you don’t have your own website, you could easily sign up for some free webhosting, which is a limited account usually, but should be adequate for this purpose as long as it supports curl. Additionally, security will not be such a big risk, considering that there will be nothing beyond the script to get at. The specifications will mention if curl is available, or you can simply upload the script and see if it works. It will work if its needs are met. If not, it is a free account anyway. Try another place. You could also buy hosting, if you like spending money.

I am using Tweetledee, a fairly primitive application for grabbing feeds off Twitter. You can download it here. The website has Tweetledee Usage Examples for setting it up, but if you are somewhat skilled, here is what you have to do.

Create a Twitter application from your Twitter developer site (you will have to login with your Twitter account). You only need read access, so default settings should be fine. For the application url, plug in the url to wherever you are planning to host your application.

Download the Tweetledee application and unpack it onto your computer. You will only be uploading the tweetledee folder inside, but first, add your application details from Twitter into the file tweetledee_keys.php, which can be found in tweetledee/tldlib/keys/.

Surf to http://your.script.host/tweetledee-folder-if-not-root/userrss.php If everything is working, you will see an RSS feed of your Twitter posts here that you can plug into your hootsuite for automated posting. By default, you get 25 posts, but you can increase up to 200 by adding a parameter “c” like:
You can get another user’s timeline by adding their handle as a parameter (mine, in the example):
http://your.script.host/tweetledee-folder-if-not-root/userrss.php?c=200&user=vidyut
You can exclude the replies:
http://your.script.host/tweetledee-folder-if-not-root/userrss.php?xrp=1

However…. several things and their fixes.

The Tweetledee script is fairly primitive in the sense that it simply gives you your timeline as RSS. It does not cache the results currently, so simply refreshing the page a few times may put you out of your API limit. It should not be such a problem if the script is called only when needed, but if the page is available on the internet, there will be spiders and bots and possibly other traffic that may max you out and make your feed unavailable for Hootsuite. A simple fix for this is to check your logs after the script is accessed by Hootsuite for the first time and configure your server to only serve to their user-agent and return a 403 for all other attempts to access it. This works brilliantly. Not to mention it prevents others from misusing your tweetledee tools for their purposes (The scripts do several things, like pull search results or timelines of other users – read documentation).

The Tweetledee application gives you your timeline as seen on your profile page and directly plugging it into hootsuite will post a lot of unnecessary updates (which is not desirable, since you can only make 5 updates an hour with a free account). Besides, if you are a social media addict to the point of seeking a fix like this, you probably make way more than five tweets an hour. So we hack this further.

Now the method bifurcates a bit. If you are paying for a hootsuite account (HootSuite Pro Free Trial) then you will likely not have to worry about the five tweets an hour limit. (Please note that you should limit the access to the application by user-agent or you will likely keep running out of api calls)

We can refine our tweet stream with Yahoo pipes

However, if you are only using a free account, all is not lost. You can still get your best tweets on your Google Plus page, even if not all. To do this, instead of using your profile feed, you use the search feed by “popular” for your handle, which will have tweets you make as well as replies and mentions.

http://your.script.host/tweetledee-folder-if-not-root/searchrss.php?q=vidyut&rt=popular

The best part is that they will be organized so that the “top” tweets – which are your best viewed tweets – show first. You will be doing a considerable amount of weeding of this RSS, so be sure to grab the maximum number of tweets the api allows, which is 200.

Plug this RSS into your Yahoo Pipes, and filter out tweets not made by you as well as any tweets made by you that begin with “@” (which means they are replies to someone). You are left with pure gold. You can additionally sort these tweets by time of publishing to get something that resembles a timeline of your best tweets, or you can use it as it is, so that your best tweets are posted on priority regardless of when you tweeted them. This will largely depend on your tweeting habits. If you tweet like conversation, you may want them in sequence. If you tweet individual tweets, you may want the best leading.

You can also experiment with other ideas like marking tweets you want to share on your Google Plus page as favorites, and using the favorites feed:
http://your.script.host/tweetledee-folder-if-not-root/favoriterss.php?c=200&user=vidyut

Now, when you output this pipe as RSS and plug it into hootsuite, your Google plus page will keep updating with your best tweets (or all, if you are paying to remove limits and not selecting only best tweets). While it will only update five tweets an hour, it will not repeat items it has already tweeted, so if you have made less than 5 good tweets in that hour, your backlog will slowly get cleared, as it also will, every hour when you are offline.

Hope this helps.

If you got a better idea, tell me. Also let me know if anything does not work.

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