I had been planning to postpone any posts about the wave 4 beta until all of it was rolled out (I’m still waiting on the new Hotmail and related bits), but I decided to post this quick tip. As you may have heard, Windows Live no longer officially supports Twitter as a web activity, er service, due to some policy changes on the far end of the relationship. I know a lot of die-hard Windows Live fans are bummed, because it’s a setback to lose a facet of what made the service feel so dynamic and connected.
Twitter is a fantastic tool (when used properly) and over the past couple of years, it has become as much a part of the mainstream Internet as e-mail, lolcats, and free porn. It’s a great way to share quick status updates, links, comment on social trends, even chat with friends…heck you can do just about anything with it. With a simple yet versatile model for following anyone who interests you, Twitter really is social networking in its most primal form.
Windows Live and Twitter had been BFFs since the wave 3 roll-out. It was one of the few web activities that actually worked on launch day (once people figured out what the hell to do with web activities). Twitter was always a one-way web partner, meaning you couldn’t push status updates out to it from Windows Live, but it provided an insight into what your network friends were doing outside of our little microcosm. We were hopeful that the wave 4 release would strengthen and improve that relationship, as it has with Facebook and MySpace. Looks like we were wrong…as of this writing, Twitter </3 Windows Live.
So if you’re one of the many Windows Live users who relied on the Twitter web activity to help you share your tweets with your network, what do you do now? For a workaround, we’ll turn to another venerable Windows Live web service: the ubiquitous Blog RSS Feed. It’s actually designed to allow you to pull in your posts from blogs that aren’t specifically supported as web services, but it’ll take any RSS or ATOM feed. If your Twitter profile is public, then it provides a handy RSS feed that contains your last 20 rolling tweets. Just plug that bad boy into Windows Live, and you’ll be tweeting again in no time. Here’s how:
Log into Twitter and view your own page (mine is http://twitter.com/gregsedwards).
Click the feed icon. Your feed is displayed, showing your last 20 tweets.
Copy the address of your feed (mine is http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/8564962.rss).
Navigate to your Windows Live Profile page at http://profile.live.com, and click Connect under your list of connected web services.
You’ll have to dig a bit to find the Blog RSS feed. Look in the Social Networking category, or just click All.
Click Blog RSS Feed. The Connect to Blog RSS Feed page is displayed.
Paste in the address of your Twitter feed, set the permissions as appropriate, and click Connect.
Within a few minutes, your tweets should begin populating in Messenger social. It’s a little clunky because of the format of the feed, but it’s better than nothing and friends can still see and comment on your activity (which is really the point after all).
Also, if you already have Twitter wired up, then I’d recommend not removing it, because you won’t be able to add it back. I think there’s still a lot of benefit in displaying the link to your Twitter profile directly on your Windows Live Profile page, even if it’s now only a badge.
Maybe Twitter and Windows Live will work out their differences soon and this won’t need to become a permanent hack.