Steal This Idea: Google Reader & Twitter Hashtags

Many conferences (think the upcoming SES Toronto, for example) and news events are Twittered live by participants and visitors alike.

To help group such tweets together, to show that a tweet is about or from this event, people use hashtags. They're written like #tag

Twitter hashtags

Their value? Tweets are soundbites; only the most valuable, most important, most poignant items are tweeted.

You see which statements hit home as high impact news, brilliant ideas and striking points bubble up with person after person tweeting and retweeting them.

Valuable information retweeted on Twitter

Your collection of tweets about an event becomes your own executive summary, bringing you up to speed with what was important.

Having those collections of quotes and info-points available at all times, searchable, is a valuable source of reference.

You do know Twitter Search spans the last 30 days only, right?

Here's an April 19 tweet by me:

Twitter Message

And here's the search for that tweet:

Failed Twitter Search

Your valuable hashtag information: down the the drain.

Here's how to solve that.

Your Permanent Twitter Powered News Archive

You can find and read hashtags tweets very easy through Twitter Search or with tools like Twitterfall or TweetDeck.

To get maximum, long-time investment value, we use Twitter Search itself. For our example we'll search for the SES Toronto hashtag #sestoronto.

SES Toronto Twitter hashtag search results

Feed link for a Twitter SearchTop-right you will see a link to the feed for this search.

Grab the link. Don't be tempted to add it to your standard newsreader; that one will grab only the last 10-20 items of that feed.

Adding SES Toronto Twitter feed link to Google ReaderNo, what you're looking for is to add the link to Google Reader because Google Reader loads a feed all the way back to its very first item (see: Leverage Google Reader's Secret)

In other words: if you add SES Toronto's hashtag today your feed will soon show all the items from the 30 days before you added it!

And, as long as you don't delete the feed in Google Reader, those results stay there.

Using Google Reader's Twitter Archive

We all have our own way of making things work the way we like it in Google Reader.

Custom All Items view in Google ReaderMine is to create my own All Items view so I can enjoy the benefits of a river of news view but still filter out pure "could be handy to have" archive feeds.

So when I add the SES Toronto hashtag Twitter feed to a folder I created purely to store hashtag searches, its items don't clog my usual news stream.

Twitter Hashtags in Google Reader

Now you're free to mine that data however you want to. You can search per hashtag or in your complete folder of hashtags.

You could find a starter point for your next blog post:

Twitter hashtag archive as idea generator

research ideas about content

Explore Twitter in your feed reader

or write a Twitter report about the event:

Twitter report post

How do you use Twitter and its feeds?

About the Author: Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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