06 Jan 2009

How to Tweet your Google Reader Starred items

Sometimes I star articles in Google Reader that I find useful and that I think may also be useful to the people who follow me on Twitter [All 5 of them? Sorry. Carry on. €“ Lisa].  With a little research, I found that you can activate an RSS feed for your Starred items in Google Reader, and then from there, set it up to automatically Tweet a newly Starred item.

Originally, I was going to write a script to do this, but I found that it would be a lot easier to just use TwitterFeed instead of reinventing the wheel.  To get started, you are going to need a Google account and a TwitterFeed account. Both are free.

The first thing we need to do is turn on our Google Reader Starred items RSS feed.  We can do this by opening Google Reader and clicking on the settings link in the upper right hand corner.  Once in the settings dashboard, click on the Folders and Tags tab.

Click on Settings in the upper right corner of Google Reader

Activate your RSS feed by checking the box next to “Your Starred items”, then select “Public” in the dropdown menu.

Select Public in Drop Down Menu

Once that’s complete, your Google Reader Starred items RSS feed is now active and ready to use.  Click “view public page” to view your Starred items.  On the right hand side you will see an Atom Feed link.

Click Atom Feed

Follow that link and copy the URL.

Once that’s done, head over to Twitterfeed and log into your current or newly created account.  From the dashboard, click the “Create new Twitter feed” link.  Go ahead and fill out the form accordingly, pasting the Starred items link you copied earlier into the RSS feed field.  Don’t forget to change “title and description” to “title only” this will keep it short and sweet when it displays on Twitter.

Select title only from drop down menu

Then fill out what you would like the prefix to be, I chose to keep it a simple “I just Starred: ” for mine.  Once you have completed that, go ahead and click the “Create” button.  TwitterFeed can have a few hour waiting period before it will start sending your Starred items to Twitter, so just try to be patient.  Once TwitterFeed kicks in your Google Reader Starred items will start showing up on your Twitter timeline.

I just starred Tweet

Beware of over-starring, I know I get annoyed with people I follow on Twitter who like to let me know about the 20 articles they’ve read.  If people follow you because you are a superstar in your industry, then stick to those subjects. Don’t star political articles or unrelated content unless it’s something outrageous or funny.  I, myself(not that I’m a superstar), star things related to Web design/development, graphic design or when I find something funny that I think my followers will enjoy.

I hope you can put your Starred items to good use on Twitter.  Enjoy!


  1. MikeTek January 6, 2009 at 6:08 PM

    Pretty sweet new use of Twitter. I’m always starring things in my Google Reader and thinking “someone else should read this, but I don’t feel like taking the time to drop a tweet or an email about it.” Now it’ll be automatic. Thanks.

  2. Lily January 7, 2009 at 3:09 AM

    Useful. Thanks. I cannot of course guarantee that am not a superstar, but won’t star everything I read. Promise 😉

  3. A.J. Wood January 7, 2009 at 9:14 AM

    Hey, that’s a really great tip. Mainly because I’m not taking advantage of Google Reader yet, but will certainly check it out and Twitterfeed.

    Thanks for posting the info!

  4. Jen Lopez January 7, 2009 at 9:24 AM

    Thanks for the post, this is great information. I look forward to more in the future!

  5. Dana Lookadoo January 7, 2009 at 9:28 AM

    Nice how-to post, Zane! Glad you mentioned that you don’t feed everything to Twitter. Many people use Twitter as their dumping ground for all their feeds. It’s a quick unfollow.

    @styletime feeds some of his Google reader items and asked his followers first if they would mind. I thought that was a nice twittiquette approach.

    FYI that one feed many are not fond of is FriendFeed to Twitter. You click their link, and it’s an exact copy of the tweet.

    Now, for those of us who use Netvibes…

  6. Zane DeFazio January 7, 2009 at 9:41 AM

    Thanks for all of the positive feedback everyone.

    @Dana I’m not sure that people who use Twitter as a dumping ground as you put it are even aware of how sick everyone is hearing about the 5 blog posts they wrote that day plus all of their daily reads that are most likely not worthwhile. Keeping article posts spread out and low in count will help build authority and give weight to what you Tweet.

  7. Dana Lookadoo January 7, 2009 at 9:44 AM

    Agreed! How funny! I just wanted to “RT” my agreement to your comment:

    Keeping article posts spread out and low in count will help build authority and give weight to what you Tweet.

    Again, nice post!

  8. AndyW January 7, 2009 at 11:13 AM

    Well you learn something new everyday…

    Thanks… activated and up and running already

  9. Styletime January 7, 2009 at 11:31 AM

    @Dana I remember that conversation and actually decided not too all tweets into the @styletime stream are totally manual the only auto is on @votetime which publishes design links from social bookmarking when they get 3 votes.

    I don’t have a problem per se with some auto sharing but I think 3 should be the limit it gets annoying when 5 or 7 appear from the sharers at the same time.

  10. Dana Lookadoo January 7, 2009 at 11:50 AM

    @Styletime Agreed. You share a good balance of feeds and information that makes it valuable. It’s very appropriate.

    So many people use Twitter and socnets as dumping grounds for their lifestream.

    @Zane, as you pointed out, you are showing people how to feed something you think your followers will enjoy. That’s the key!

  11. andymurd January 8, 2009 at 2:50 AM

    Nice article, Zane. I did something similar to automatically twitter whenever I submit an article to Sphinn. The article is here:


    I soon turned it off because I found that it devalued my twitter stream but some people will find it useful.

  12. Online Marketing Blog » Blog Archive » Friday Recap January 11, 2009 at 12:18 AM

    […] week’s Twitter news, Zane DeFazio at We Build Pages shared a clever new way to post stories from Google Reader to Twitter (it beats trying to levitate them from one location to other, although I hear it can be done) and […]

  13. Jim Ware January 12, 2009 at 3:30 PM

    This is a good idea I’ll share with readers of our Parrot blog – a blog about blogs and Twitter. Thanks.

  14. Bookmarks (weekly) « Daisylinbluez’s Weblog January 17, 2009 at 6:45 PM

    […] How to Tweet your Google Reader Starred items […]

  15. David May 9, 2009 at 8:00 AM

    Hey Dane, This is very useful stuff. I have set-up my starred items, shared your post and commented.

    How tweet it is!

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