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Syncing Social Updates: Using Twitter with Facebook and Pownce Syncing

Twitter has the hype. Competitors like Pownce are springing up to offer more, but it’s hard to beat a simple 140-character messaging service. It’s simple.

Marketers and public relations professionals have embraced the service and seen how useful it can be to connect with publics. Some analysts champion it as the best new opt-in direct marketing network.

For general users, Twitter is a great way to stay in touch with all your friends and broadcast what you are doing. Your messages can be met with no response or could start up a conversation–even while you are out if you forward your Twitter to a cell phone. Unlike a blog, you don’t control the conversation with comment moderation, and if you are on the public timeline, anyone can see what people are talking about.

The beauty of it is that you are always connected with one message sent, but if you are utilizing Twitter-like services in Facebook or competitors, it can difficult to keep the tool simple so that you can update all your networks at one central location.

Through doing some research on message boards and the Web, I found an easy way to link up your Facebook status, your Twitter updates and your Pownce updates. You could probably easily apply it to any other service you do as well.

Here are the steps to sync your Pownce updates with your Twitter updates:

  1. First off, if you are going to link Pownce to Twitter, you need to set up an account at Twitterfeed.com. Twitterfeed provides a nice little service to sync RSS feeds into your Twitter updates. You can have Twitterfeed check for updates as often as every 30 minutes or just every 12 hours. The service uses OpenID, a handy universal login option that is becoming more popular online, so don’t hesitate to create one if you don’t have one already. WordPress.com logins even work as an OpenID.
  2. Once you have an account at Twitterfeed, you can syndicate your Pownce updates through your public feed. Just login to Pownce and click on the link to your “public profile” in the bottom of the right sidebar. On the “Public Notes” header just above all your messages, you’ll see a tiny orange RSS symbol (orange square with three curved white lines inside) that you can click on to get the address of your public RSS feed.
  3. Setup your Pownce feed as an input RSS feed for Twitterfeed and set it to update every 30 minutes. You can customize all the feed options however you wish to make it work for you.

Now, anything you post to Pownce will also be posted to Twitter–you don’t have to choose! Unfortunately, if you would prefer your Twitter updates to update to your Pownce so you can use a program like Twitteroo or Twitteriffic, you are in no luck until the Pownce loosens up a bit with their API. Pownce offers a nice software tool though.

I would suggest that if you run any blogs, you try out also feeding your RSS feeds from your blogs into Twitter on a more infrequent basis–like every 6 or 12 hours. Posting blogs to the Twitter public timeline can attract attention to a young site or start up conversation on the latest buzz topics. You can also make it easy for friends to see when you have posted an update. Just don’t post up so many that you make Scoble look like an absentee twitterer.

Now that your Twitter and Pownce are linked together, you may want to set up your Twitter to sync with your Facebook status so that you don’t have to login to Facebook or text Facebook directly to change it. This one is much easier.

Here are the steps to getting your Twitter updates with your Facebook status:

  1. Login to Facebook and seek out the TwitterSync application.
  2. Set up your login information for Twitter inside TwitterSync and configure the options to fit your purpose. After that, you are good to go. TwitterSync lets you change the verb that comes before your status updates, and now, even adds a filter.

I talked to the developer of this app, Dustin Brewer, when I first started getting this sync working to suggest the addition of the filter for those of us who have blog RSS feeds going into Twitter. I didn’t want my blog posts syncing with my Facebook status since links don’t show up properly that way.

Dustin listened to my suggestion and added a filter in his latest release, so now you can filter out a specific word. Since I have three blogs feeding into Twitter, I use a little cheat by having the filter not sync any posts with “tinyurl” in them. Hopefully, I never post about tinyurl, but filtering just that word keeps any twits with links from Twitterfeed from updating your Facebook status and making it all messy. Only my all text, personal updates go up on Facebook. If you are using Twitterfeed to promote your blogs and share your posts, this solution should work for you too.

Now, since I have the Pownce software installed on my desktop, I can update Pownce right on my desktop and watch the same message sync with Twitter and Facebook in just a few minutes. Try it out for yourself, and keep it simple.

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