Whitelisted Hashtag Retweeter Pipe

Last week, I got an email from Stuart with the following query:

I’m trying to find a way to enable people to post to the OU twitter account from their personal account by using a predefined hashtag. …
We agreed a hashtag #***** which kmi researchers are using from their account if they want to share information to the main OU account.  I pull an RSS feed of this into the OU account and retweet it.  I’m sure you can see the obvious loop that occurs!

… are you aware of anything that will let me retweet a hashtag and strip off that hashtag to avoid the loop?  It would be great to be able to add new hashtags in the future so it could be rolled out to other faculties who might wish to share their news via the OU account just by tweeting from individual faculty members’ accounts.

Here’s what I came up with…

hashtag filter pipe

The first part of the pipe takes the user defined hashtag and creates the URL that will run a search for that hashtag on twitter and the second part of the pipe fetches the feed. The Filter block will only pass through tweets that come from specified twitter users (actually, that isn’t quite true… this pipe is gameable/spammable becuase of the way I use “contains” in the whitelist filter block… Can you see how?!;-) The regular expression block strips the hashtag out of the retweeted tweets. (For the pipe to work and not get into an infinite loop, this isn’t actually necessary if we’re using the whitelist, because retweeters that make use of the pipe feed should not have their username in the whitelist… That is, if you’re running the whitelist, you can remove the regualr expression block and leave the hashtag in the retweet feed. Conversely, if you don’t want to run the whitelist, you can just remove the filter block, although in this case you will need the hashtag stripping regular expression block to prevent infinite retweets… Got that?!;-)

You can find the pipe here: Hashtag retweeter pipe

If you want a more “secure” version, i.e. one that does not reveal the identities of people in the whitelist, or the hashtag, use private string blocks (example pipe:

Making strings private to owner in Yahoo pipes

If you want to create your own hashtag retweeter pipe without having to clone and customise your own pipe, use this approach:

Customisable twitter retweet pipe

(NB if you leave either of the username slots blank, then tweets sent by anyone using the hastag will be passed through the pipe and made available for retweeting.)

Sigh… another claim… 2ZXZGU4TDXK2

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...