Twitter Alerts

This morning as I am going through feeds and email I hoped over to my Twitter page only to notice that one of my colleagues at ETS is reporting the weather inside Twitter. I just Tweeted back at him that he has to become the first Twitter Weather Man. I know I’d have him in my Twitter list. It got me thinking a little more and the idea that Twitter really can be used for some seriously powerful instant alerts. I am wondering why someone wouldn’t add Twitter to their list of places they publish their headlines, alerts, or whatever.

For the past two weeks I’ve been posting updates about the ETS Talk podcast to its own Twitter account — it has some friends. I have friended BBC Tech News and Adaptive Path to stay in touch with their instant news bursts. Why not Twitter Weather? Why not Twitter channels for all sorts of stuff like that? So, Jamie here is your opportunity to be the Weather Man! Put all those computer models and your intense interest in meteorology to use and set a standard. 140 characters is more than enough to convey urgency and to push someone over to a webpage running the details.


What else are we missing about this medium? Here’s another request … I am wondering how hard it would be to create an app that would let you submit information to a blog and an excerpt to Twitter at the same time. Clearly it can be done … anyone?

Update … you think the Weather Man Twitter could work? I do.


6 thoughts on “Twitter Alerts

  1. Updating your twitter status programmatically is as easy as an HTTP post.

    As per

    `Updating your Twitter
    Done with a HTTP POST using the “status” parameter. status=Walking the dog.’

    Anyway, I wrote some PERL to do just that. You can run it from command line with

    ./do_twitter my new status message here


    you could incorporate the code into you blog code and have it do a twitter update when you post a new story… what I’m wondering is if what you really want is a RSS to twitter gateway. Ie. subscribe via RSS to something and when something new comes out have it post it via twitter. I did discover that the limit for a twitter message is really 250 characters, the web and native client limit you to 140. I’m betting they probably do that due in part to the 160 character limit of SMS.

    Anyway, here’s some code… use it if you want.. or don’t:


  2. I like this. I think this would be useful, especially if you notice the roads are getting bad outside and people should maybe think about leaving early. Call it T’weather, maybe.
    Quarter by quarter football updates would work as well. Some people do this on their AIM message anyway. Perhaps subscribing to this type of channel would push stuff to your screen as it happens. Hey, remember “push” technology from the late 90’s? It never quite caught on back then, but maybe people are ready for it now. That was “so Web 1.0”.

  3. Chris, I have a plugin installed that is supposed to send a note to Twitter with a blog title and link when I post. Worked once, now not at all. I am thinking of a little app that (web based) where I Could do a short story for my blog and then have a separate entry area to add a little twitter cnotent and post them at the same time. I like the idea of doing this from within my blog. Could be interesting. Now, if I only could write any of this stuff! I’ll play around and see what I can come up with. Thanks!

  4. If the title isn’t enough info to twitter, wordpress also has the “Excerpt” field by default.

    Maybe the gist of what you want to get out there via twitter could be contained in the title. The existing plugin would be fine for that (if it works).

  5. This is an intriguing idea that I am sure someone like AccuWx would do.

    The biggest challenge here is for fairly complex weather setups (like this storm) where you have to get across a lot of info, the character limit. But, you can then link to more info.

    Pat, the football score updates are interesting as well.

    I will continue to do updates.

  6. There are dozens of things that Twitter Alerts could be used for … weather and football are simply two. When you combine short headlines with URLs (shortened with Tiny URL) you can reach a whole new group of people quickly w/o impacting workflow too much.

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