Since before beets had a real blog of its own, I’ve been using the @b33ts Twitter account as a simple, zero-effort way to make announcements about the project and keep users up to date. Most of the news that comes out of a small open-source project like beets doesn’t warrant a full blog post, so 140-character summaries are usually enough. And the shorter format encourages me to post more often.

I’ve also always syndicated the Twitter feed to beets’ homepage (you can see it on the right hand side there). I like having the latest news from Twitter up there to show visitors that beets, unlike so many other open-source projects, is under active development. And returning users get to see what’s new at a glance without my needing to cross-post to the blog.

With Twitter’s new API restrictions, this kind of syndication is no longer possible. Twitter is exerting more control over how tweets are displayed and this news feed violates the new display requirements. I’m not shocked by this development. In fact, it always surprised me that this use case was allowed in the first place—I’m making demands on Twitter’s servers and giving them nothing in return. So, while it will be a hassle to switch to a different solution, I understand that it needs to be done.

But what should would-be syndicators do instead? This is an honest question—I don’t know of a good solution that obeys Twitter’s new rules. I like being able to post with the many awesome Twitter clients out there and I’m sure users want to see updates in their streams, so I will keep using the @b33ts account. But the news feed on the homepage is also too useful to give up. Here are the alternatives I know of:

  • Use Twitter’s new official widgets. These widgets are large, clunky, and image-laden—I’m not sure where Twitter intends these to be used (, I guess?), but it’s certainly not in a sidebar element. (The old twitter widgets, which featured a less visually intrusive design, are deprecated.)
  • Cross-post. Twitter’s new rules restrict how you get data out of Twitter—not how you add data to Twitter. This means that I could “microblog” (is that still a word?) somewhere else—on GitHub Pages, say—and run a cron job to post those updates to Twitter. Syndicate in, not out.
  • Tent or, I guess?

None of these are as simple as my current setup with Twitter. Do you have a better idea for maintaining this use case? Please send me email or—if you’re not too bitter about it yet—tweet at @b33ts.

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