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Hacking Twitter: How to Capture Everything, from Anywhere


Most folks have downed their cup of the Twitter Kool-Aid (myself included). If you haven’t heard of Twitter, then we must be using different internets on different planets. Here’s a 2 sentence introduction:

Send a little status message about where you are or what you’re doing (via web interface, IM or cell phone) to Twitter, and it will let your Twitter buddies know what you’re up to. And there is no second sentence.

“But sir!”, you might ask, “what does this Twitter thing have to do with our beloved GTD and Productivity! Sir!”. Well, it might not be terribly apparent at first, but Twitter is actually a very slick capture tool that you can use from anywhere you have your cell phone (and reception). For example…

Let’s say I’m out at the zoo with my family. We’re looking at the animals, buying the peanuts, etc. when – seemingly from nowhere – a brilliant idea strikes me. It will, undoubtedly, make me a very rich man. But, as we GTDers know, your mind is desperately wicked and cannot be trusted. So, without even batting an eye, I whip out my trusty RAZR and send old Twitter a text message: “Invent application that allows the stabbing of people through the internet”. Could it be simpler? No, no it couldn’t.

Now, fast forward to that evening. We’re back at home, the kids are in bed and the Mrs. and I are just milling around the house. I walk over to my computer and open My Favorite RSS Reader to find all of the “tweets” (messages sent to Twitter) that I’d sent to myself over the past day or so, ready to be processed. It’s almost like having your own little secretary, really. Then, I add the Internet Stabbing Protocol to my project list, choose a next action and fame and fortune are that much closer.

Implementing this little system is extremely simple. First, head over and create a new account for yourself at Twitter (separate from your normal Twitter account, should you already have one). Set up your new Twitter account to use your cell phone as an update method (this might be a problem if you already have your phone set up to work with another account, so be sure to look into that first). Once your new Twitter account is configured, head over to and subscribe to the RSS feed. Done and done.

So, not a terribly innovative hack, but this Web 2.0 stuff is all about hacking existing tools to make them more useful, right?

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