With the recent decisions and actions taken by LiveJournal’s owners, many people are migrating their personal blogs to Dreamwidth, a “LiveJournal-like” blog that uses a very similar interface and can import existing LJ posts, comments, and settings to make the transition easier.
Unfortunately, Dreamwidth lacks some features of LiveJournal, including direct Twitter integration. But if you would like to have a script that will automatically post a tweet to your followers, there’s an easy workaround, thanks to a handy website called IFTTT (or, “If This, Then That”). IFTTT requires creating a free login, but is more than useful enough to be worth it.
The following steps assume you already have Dreamwidth, Twitter, and IFTTT accounts up and running.
Step One: Find Your Dreamwidth RSS Feed
A website’s RSS feed (short for “RDF Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication”) is a tagged XML file of posts made to that website, designed to make it easy for other services to “consume” the page.
Every time you post to your Dreamwidth account, your RSS feed updates, and that will be the trigger for IFTTT to send a post to Twitter. Most Dreamwidth styles have a button labeled “RSS” somewhere on your blog posts page. You can either click through the button, or right-click (contextual click) to find and copy the feed URL. If you can’t find it, try simply appending “/data/rss” to the end of your Dreamwidth account’s URL.
Step Two: Create a New IFTTT Applet
On IFTTT, go to the user menu on the upper right and select the “New Applet” option. That will take you to the “Applet Maker” screen.
Step Three: Choose the RSS Feed Source
Click on the blue “+this” link to choose a source, and from there click on “Feed” to select the RSS feed option.
That will take you to the “Choose Trigger” page. Select “New feed item” to have the service scan for new post entries, and when prompted, copy and paste the RSS feed link from your Dreamwidth account (found in Step One) into the Feed URL field.
Step Four: Choose the Twitter Posting Result
Submitting the feed URL should take you to the next step of the IFTTT applet builder, giving you a prompt that looks like this:
Click on the blue “+that” link to select your output destination, and then select “Twitter” as your action service.
This will send you to a screen asking what action you want to perform on Twitter. Select “Post a Tweet,” which will take you to a screen showing your various posting options.
A simple entry of “EntryTitle EntryUrl” will tweet the title of your Dreamwidth post followed by a link to that post, but you have several other options as well, including a timestamp (“EntryPublished”) or free text of your choice.
For my own Dreamwidth account, I entered “Dreamwidth: EntryTitle EntryUrl”, which produces a result like this:
Step Five: Finish!
Once you have your tweet format set up the way you want it, click on “Create action” and you’re done! You’ll be given the chance to review your applet and make any final edits you might want. Once you approve the applet, it will go into the “My Applets” library. Then all you have to do is add a new post to your Dreamwidth journal, and your Twitter followers will be notified.
This same method can be used to create a wide variety of “cross-posters,” which is handy for anyone who runs more than one blog or other content creation service. The results may vary from service to service— different blogs have different methods of consuming and posting RSS feeds— but it is very flexible tool.