The classic link-sharing site Delicious is still around, trying to find a niche in the new social media world. One of the things they’ve recently done is set up a way to import all links you post on Twitter. It does a historical import when you link the account, and then pulls in new tweets going forward.

It’s a cool idea, depending on how you use the sites, and they’ve made it just flexible enough that anyone who might want to do this in the first place will find a way to match their use case.

In my case, I mainly used Delicious as an additional bookmark store that I could access across browsers and accounts, though for the most part that’s been replaced by Xmarks. I haven’t used it as much for deliberate sharing, though I’ve posted the occasional link in the hopes that someone might notice it.

Anyway, I linked it up with my personal Twitter account, left the site for a few hours, then came back to see just how far back it had imported. It went back about 3 years, pulling in over 1,000 links that I’d posted to Twitter.

The Good:

  • It merges duplicates.
  • Links are backdated to the day you posted the tweet.
  • All imported links are tagged with “from twitter” (you can change this), making it easy to filter.
  • Hashtags are imported as tags.
  • The text of your tweet becomes the comment.
  • It extracts titles and thumbnail images from the links.
  • It can follow some redirectors, including Twitter’s own

The Bad:

  • It doesn’t follow all redirectors. There are an awful lot of and links in there.
  • That also means that if I tweeted the same link twice using different link shorteners, it doesn’t resolve the duplicates.
  • A lot of those links were only of short term interest.
  • Three years is plenty of time for a redirector (or, of course, a target link) to shut down. Fortunately, it looks like I didn’t use much.
  • My blog automatically tweets links to new posts, which means every post I’ve made in the last three years is in there – the earliest with an or tinyurl link, the later ones with I don’t need those in my own bookmarks (with a few exceptions), and as far as sharing goes, it makes me feel spammy to plug three years’ worth of backlist at once.
  • Searching for links gives you less-functional results than simply looking at your list or filtering by tag. Not all details appear on the results page, bulk actions aren’t available, and you can’t always delete a link if you edit it from search results. This meant I couldn’t, for instance, search for “New post” or “K-Squared Ramblings,” skim the titles and bulk-delete the bookmarks to my own content.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been taking a few minutes here and there to go through what started as 60 pages’ worth of imported links, delete the ones I don’t want to keep and fix up the ones I do. It started out faster than my last Twitter-related cleanup project, but that’s because there were a lot of auto-posted links I could just delete without taking the time to evaluate or label them. It’s already slowing down.

I could just leave all the clutter there, but part of the point is for this to be my bookmarks-away-from-home, and it’s easier to find stuff without the extra junk.

On the plus side, between this and the broken link cleanup, I’m getting to see a bunch of old posts and photos I’d forgotten about. That’s been an interesting process.

It’s also convinced me that linkblogging round-ups really don’t belong on this blog. I still do them on Speed Force, but that’s in part because Speed Force has readers who don’t follow the social networks. (OK, let’s be honest: because Speed Force has readers.) Here, where it’s just a personal site, I’m better off sticking with the best medium for each post. That means Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for short posts (barring a few categories that I’ve got history here, like license plate spotting), the blog for longer posts, and social networks for link sharing.

4 thoughts on “Delicious, Twitter, and Linkblogging

  1. I use TwitterTools both for routing my blog posts to Twitter and to pull Tweets back to my blog (and it’s clever enough to recognize that the former should not be included in the latter).

    And … um … yes, I see you wrote an add-in (which I use) to TwitterTools, so you know about it, so I’ll just be quiet about now …

    My goal, in all things, is to route everything back to my blog, not necessarily because I want everyone to follow my blog (a goal I long since abandoned), but because that’s data I have control over and which is agnostic to other third-party social media whims.

    Redirectors are tools of the Devil. Using them in Twitter is a necessary evil (emphasis on the noun) due to the 140-byte limit, but their brittleness is explained in your post.

    • Yeah, that’s the reason I used to try to pull things in here too, but over time I’ve changed my mind about what’s worth archiving, and where (depending on format & type of content) it’s best suited to be.

  2. Kelson,

    Question for you. In my past experience with delicious you could create feeds there that were indexable, dofollow and could acquire PageRank. Do you know if that is the case for the feed to your delcious account it is importing from Twitter? Are those links dofollow?

    • The imported content is exactly the same as any other Delicious links you post, so you can do anything with it that you would do with the rest of your links, including pulling RSS or JSON feeds. nofollow/dofollow aren’t relevant to something that’s not even HTML, but you could certainly use the data to build an HTML page with whatever characteristics you want.

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