I am not a big fan of Twitter but lot of geeks I respect seem to use it. I used to follow a few Twitter accounts using RSS in Google Reader. Basically, I will go to the Twitter account’s page and there will be a RSS icon. Clicking it will subscribe the feed in your favorite RSS reader. I can follow the accounts from Google Reader as if it is yet another blog.
Unfortunately, Twitter recently announced that they are not planning to support RSS directly. If you go to the latest Twitter page of the account you want to follow, you will not see a RSS icon. This annoyed me to no end as it used to provide a convenient way for me to follow the accounts in the comfort of Google Reader. The following are are some of the hacks that you can use to get the RSS feed url to subscribe in your reader. I have arranged them from easy to hard.
Method 1 : Using Google Reader’s Add Subscription
This seems to work for me as of now and hopefully will work in the near future. If you are using Google Reader, click on "Add Subscription" button. In the textbox, enter the url as "http://twitter.com/username" . Change the username to the actual account name that you want to follow. This will subscribe you to the account’s feed.
Method 2: Using Account Name in Twitter API
If the above did not work or if you are using other RSS reader , there is an alternative. If you know only the account name, use the following as the feed url :
This technique uses information from Twitter’s dev wiki of the API that returns the last 20 statuses of the user.
Method 3: Using User ID in Twitter API
This method is slightly more advanced and assumes that you know the user id of the account that you want to follow. This number is not easy to find – especially in the new twitter. The following instructions assume you use Chrome, but the instructions for Firefox must be similar. For other browser users, you can use the overall idea given here and adapt it to your browser.
(1) Go to the account that you want to follow. Click on the "Tweets" tab so that the last few tweets are visible.
(2) Now select few of the initial tweets using the mouse.
(3) Right click -> Inspect Element
(4) In the develop tools that is now shown, enter the account name of the user. Find the instance that comes with the user-id field. A sample might be :
<a class="tweet-screen-name user-profile-link" data-user-id="1234567890" href="/#!/accountname" title="Account Name">Account Name</a>
Alternatively, you can search for "data-user-id" (without quotes) in the search box. Note that entering part of it (say user-id) will not work. It has to be exact. Find the element that corresponds to the user profile.
(5) In the list of elements that are matched, find the number whose length is between 8-10 – eg 1234567890.
(6) This is the user id of the account.
Once you get the user id, there are two methods to subscribe. One uses the variation of previous method. Enter the feed url as (replace 1234567890 with the actual one)
The other alternative is to use the following as the feed url (replace 1234567890 with the actual one)
I hope one of the methods works for you and helps you to follow your favorite Twitter accounts using your greatest RSS reader 🙂