31 Aug 2008 9:48 am   //   Filed under: Technology

Maybe Twitter isn’t so bad after all

(If you’re interested in the gears that power the Internet, including this blog, you’ll find this post interesting. If not, skip it.)

A few months ago I wrote that Twitter was over. Okay, I was wrong. Yesterday I decided to dust off my Twitter account and actually start using it.

That little tagline you see under the logo on this blog? It used to be something I had to input through a web browser using WordPress. Starting yesterday, it’s now displaying the most recent post from my Twitter feed. You can click on it to go directly to my Twitter page. Bam! Twitter just went from useless to useful.

I hadn’t done this before because it would have taken many hours of work for me to figure out how to get Twitter’s quirky RSS feeds to play nice with my customized blog template. (Basically, a lot of PHP, and none of it using the helpful new CURL command, since the version of PHP on my server is too old to have it.) Happily, Yahoo Pipes came along and made this much easier. I reused the same code I use to pull the temperature from the National Weather Service JFK observation feed.

And just because everybody else is doing it, I set up my Twitter posts to feed directly into my Facebook status update.

I’ve also set up a separate Twitter account for work, which I might play around with on my upcoming work trip to France.

Of course, I backed up all my code from the pre-Twitter site. I need to be ready to swap it in quickly when Twitter inevitably goes out of business.