Over the weekend, a weird thing happened on the nanoblogging service Twitter (Twitter review; Twitter how-to): Its most popular contributor, Leo Laporte, announced that he was leaving Twitter for a competing service, Jaiku (review). And that he was taking his fans with him. See Laporte's blog for his explanation.
The reason: An unfortunate coincidence of naming. Laporte runs the popular technology podcast, This Week in Tech--aka TWiT. After embracing Twitter and winning the most users or "followers"--more than 4,000, surpassing even megablogger Robert Scoble (Twitter feed)--he realized that there could be brand confusion between Twitter and TWiT, and thought it best to depart Twitter while he and Twitter's business team got things sorted out. The departure played out in blogs and on Twitter itself, and to everyone's credit there doesn't appear to be animosity among the players.
But it's a pain in the neck for bystanders. The "Laporte effect" has had ramifications for users of both services. First, the influx of users to Jaiku overwhelmed the service, causing it to become intermittently nonresponsive (shades of Twitter). Second, it leaves users with a dilemma: if you want to play in the nanoblogging universe, which site do you use and hang out on? And as I wrote on Twitter over the weekend, "I'll be damned if I'm going to update Jaiku and Twitter too." So, what's a nanoblogger to do?
The easy answer: sign up for both services, and add your personal Twitter RSS feed to your Jaiku account. That way, when you post a Twitter item, it'll show up for your Jaiku users as well. Here's how:
Obviously, you'll need accounts in both systems, and you'll want to find the right Twitter feed to put into Jaiku. If you're logged into Twitter, click the "RSS" button on the bottom of the page and you'll get your "with friends" feed. That is, all your posts and all your friends' posts too. This is not what you want. Instead, go to your public page at
www.twitter.com/yourusername and click the RSS button on the bottom of that page. Copy that URL into your clipboard.
Then go to Jaiku. Log in, go to Settings, then Manage your Web Feeds, and then select the bottom option on the list, Add another Atom or RSS feed. Paste in the URL of your feed from Twitter.
You're done. Now when people visit your Jaiku page they'll get your Twitter updates.
You can add other RSS feeds to Jaiku, which is a very cool feature. For example, I've added the feed of my articles on Webware.com to Jaiku. You also can add feeds from Flickr, other blogs, and so on. Jaiku can, in fact, act as a very useful hub for collecting all your online work, or any other collection of RSS content that you want.
Unfortunately, this trick doesn't work in reverse: you can't put an RSS feed in a Twitter account. And despite the fact that Jaiku has more features than Twitter, I'm still hanging out on Twitter since that's where I've established myself as a nanoblogger and that's where my followers are. I am glad I now have a little pied a terre on Jaiku where people can find my work, although honestly I don't plan on visiting it myself very often.