After a few more days of using Twitter, I decided to try Twitpic and Audiotwit that I had noticed others using.
This just seems to be a basic service for storing and commenting on images that sends out a tweet when you add a new photograph or comment on one. It has no provisions for creating albums or anything like that. Since I have my own photo gallery, I have no real need to use this as a place to store images. Same reason I don’t store images at my MySpace page or using something like Flickr. I will admit that the main page that shows where new images are coming from is kind of cool. I did upload one picture and here’s my twitpic page.
To use this relatively new service, it appears, you send a reply tweet to @listensto with the artist and song title of what you are listening to. An example tweet would be “@listensto Metallica – One“. Then, it creates an Audiotwit page for you at (username).audiotwit.com. In my case this was mrheadrick.audiotwit.com. It then adds a Lyrics link next to the song to look-up the song’s lyrics.
Since I was using the Winamp Now Playing Plug-In version 2.1.2 together with a PHP script I wrote to generate now-playing images and a song history on my entertainment page, I wondered if there was a Winamp Twitter plug-in and there was one to my amazement. While it did work, it had problems dealing with some characters, such as “&” where it would just chop-off everything after the “&”. The RSS feed of the audiotwit page is also a bit buggy. “&” causes problems with the feed and the feed itself does not validate with Feedvalidator.org. During all this testing, I decided I better create another twitter account just for this purpose and keep all the “now listening to” spam out of my main twitter account. (Update 8/11/2010: @mrheadrick_np was the account I made at the time; however, it got flagged to not show in searches and hasn’t been used in months and has been deleted. The audiotwit page at mrheadrick_np.audiotwit.com still exists for the time being.)
During this time I had also discovered that many others used the phrase “listening to” to announce what they were listening to. There’s even a search link at the Twitter search results page for this phrase. At this point I decided to stop using the Winamp Twitter plug-in which was a bit limiting and use my Winamp PHP script to send a tweet via the Twitter API using both “@listensto” and “listening to” methods. After some searching around, I used the improved script by Scott Sloan I found here and adapted it to my own needs.
So now, mrheadrick_np.audiotwit.com and this “listening to” search will show what I am playing. The feed you see in my blog is the feed that the “listening to” search produces, which does not have problems with “&” and other characters being in the artist and song titles.
I also added a Twitter widget to my main website. I used the HTML version and modified the CSS to create the appearance I wanted.
Having done all this, does anyone else really care what I’m doing or have been up to or what the most recent songs I’ve listened to are? Beyond family and close friends (most of which do not use Twitter), there might be a few, such as those from Surmunity, but I suspect most could care less. Several of the people that are following me on Twitter I think are doing so more to increase their own page ranks and points of entry for the various search bots to find their websites and content than to really follow what I am doing or saying. Some strangers that follow me, especially those with goobldygook usernames, are clearly doing so for spamming purposes. These I block when I come across them and many of these type of accounts are usually suspended by Twitter. Even so, I still think Twitter is kind of cool. 🙂
I was hesitant at first, mostly because I used Facebook to keep my friends current on my status and such. However, I found the Twitter app for Facebook which mirrors my tweets to my Facebook status (except for @replies), which I like. Also, I got TwitterBerry, an app for my BlackBerry phone in order to tweet and read my friends list without text messages. I still have texts on for some people (including you), but I read my entire friends list in the TwitterBerry app. It’s faster than opening the browser and leading the Twitter home page, even the mobile one.
I really like the reply system, and the hashtags. I’m working on a system right now that scrapes RSS feeds for specific hashtags and retweets them to an account that others can follow. More specifically, I created the hashtag #tctraffic which can be used to tweet about traffic conditions in the Twin Cities. My script scrapes the RSS feed that twitter generates from search.twitter.com and saves it to my database. Then it retweets it from the account @tctraffic so the followers can get updates from other people in the Twin Cities without following them.
But for some reason, the second and/or third cronjob isn’t working so it’s not 100% right now. But I think it’ll work well once I get it debugged.
Glad you’re enjoying Twitter 🙂
I also installed Winamp plug-in. Also using Thwirl. Since then no way how to get rid of @listensto messages rolling of my screen. Can’t stop them from showing up on my Thwirl. Removed plug-in, stopped following @listensto. Can’t imagine what else to do. Can you help?
Well, as I mentioned, I created an additional Twitter account called mrheadrick_np in which all the now playing stuff is tweeted from. This keeps all the now playing “spam” out of my main Twitter account. The mrheadrick_np account follows my main one and @listensto. My main account follows mrheadrick_np but not @listensto so I do not see those replies. I have my main account set to only show replies to people that I also follow. This way, I do not spam my main account with all the now playing information. If someone wants to follow what I’m listening to when I set my script to also send out public tweets with “is listening to”, then they would need to follow mrheadrick_np. It has been something for me to just play with really to see what all is possible.