Thursday, June 2, 2011

Twitter RSS feed creation cheat sheet

Ok, so apparently Twitter is no longer supporting RSS?
I tried doing an advanced search, and, sure enough, the "Feed for this query" button was gone. Then, when I mentioned it on Twitter, @shelitwits said it was still there for her, and when I checked again, it was back...
So... Yes, perhaps I'm going crazy and I just imagined it went away, but now I'm nervous. For now, search feeds are still working for me, whether the button is there or not, so I created a quick cheat sheet for myself, should I need to create a feed from a Twitter search without the handy button. I figured I'd post it here, for my own, and your, handy reference, should you need it. (Obviously, replace the bold text in the search strings with your own search terms/parameters.)

Hashtag search:

User mention search:

Keyword search: (replace the "+" with OR for searches that return any of the keywords, as opposed to all the keywords.)

Location + keyword search:

You can get the location code from location-tagged tweets in your search results, or from your profile page if you've enabled location-aware tagging on Twitter. You can also change the proximity parameter, set here to pick up tweets within 5 miles.

Also, I know it's redundant having the location & proximity twice, but this is how the feed generator creates the feed. I tried adding it to Google reader with only one or the other, and for me it worked with just the location code part intact, but did not work when I tried it just using the city and state part (which would have made life easier, since you could just plug that info in without having to look up a complicated location code, but hey, that figures, right?!)

Now, I realize that if Twitter completely stops supporting RSS, these feeds will probably no longer work, so let's just hope they don't do that. I tried using an RSS feed creator to make a feed out of the search results page (as recommended by @bibrarian,) but it didn't want to work for me (it said the page couldn't be found...)

I really hope Twitter rescinds its no-RSS stance, because I can't imagine administrating an institutional page without it. If I can't regularly monitor certain searches, that really cuts down on Twitter's usefulness as an outreach tool.


UPDATE: Cynthia at LearningLibTech posted some additional details on creating an RSS feed from a specific user's timeline. Check it out here: (and thanks to Desirae for sharing the link!)

UPDATE2: Thanks to ProfHacker for also linking to this post. I also hope my linking to posts that link to this post doesn't trigger infinite recursion and break the internet.

UPDATE3: the Sociable has created a feed generator for Twitter lists: (Thanks to Paul for sharing the link in the comments!)

UPDATE4: In response to a request by Twitter user @filip_struharik, I figured out how to combine user mention and user searches with hashtag searches. They work as follows:

User mention + hashtag:
User + hashtag:

The difference between the two is that the first feed returns all results where the user @val_forrestal *and* the hashtag library appear. The second returns only results where the user @val_forrestal *uses* the hashtag library in one of her tweets (aka only tweets with the keyword "library" from that specific user's timeline.)

UPDATE5: Here's how to do searches that are restricted to a date or set of dates (or just since or up to a certain date).

...where KEYWORD = your hashtag, and the since/until are your start/end dates. You can leave out the "%23" before KEYWORD if you want it to be a simple keyword search, instead of a hashtag search.


doug said...

You're my hero. Thanks!

Desirae said...

Thanks so much for the cheatsheet! I hopped over from the Learning LibTech blog ( after running a Google search.

I used to be able to read different tweets on my GReader but since I scrapped it completely and redid all my subs, I found I was unable to get a RSS of my tweets -- hence the search.

Thanks again for the help!

val said...

@doug - aw, shucks, thanks! ::blushes::

@desirae - thanks for sharing that link, I hadn't seen that post!

Paul said...

Thanks for these. Found another useful one last week, perhaps an addition to your sheet: creating an RSS feed for a Twitter list:

val said...

@paul - thanks for sharing the link, they even have a feed generator tool! excellent! I'll add the link to the original post also.

Alexa Samuels said...

Val, I'm stumped. How would you create a Twitter search RSS for the following:

"buy clothes" online OR on OR line OR internet

Very frustrated by Twitter's changes. Why would they remove utility?

val said...

Alexa, try this:

I just did an advanced Twitter search to see how it constructed an "OR" query, and then plugged it into the basic keyword string rss feed, after the "q=".

Dj Ds said...

But can you filter by date? i want to see the RSS feed of a hashtag only for today ?

val said...

@Dj_Ds: try this:, where KEYWORD = your hashtag, and the since/until are your start/end dates.

Paul Gillin said...

Awesomely helpful. Thank you so much!

Paul Gillin said...

This post is a life-saver. Thanks so much!

val said...

You're very welcome! And I sure wish Blogger would actually email me when I have comments pending... Sorry for the delay!

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