Introducing Slack-Twitter

Have you heard of Slack? If you work in the tech industry, or have friends who work in the tech industry, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard of it, (though I do still encounter tech-savvy people who haven’t heard of it). The explanations of what it is vary depending on whom you talk to. It’s often described as group chat with link previews or an email-killer. It’s really whatever it is you want it to be since it can integrate with just about anything.

“An API for knowledge” is a pretty good, if maybe abstract, descriptor of what it is. Matt Haughey, in a podcast announcing his retirement from MetaFilter and his new job at Slack, described his employer’s product as a toy that people use at work. I liked that description so much that I left the Slack teams that didn’t have a well-defined purpose (such as work) or topic (such as the Ingress faction I belong to).

Since I’m now spending quite a lot of time using Slack, I wanted a way to read tweets in Slack. The official Twitter integration for Slack “only” pulls in mentions and expands tweet URLs so that it shows the entire text (and photo if there is one) of the tweet. That’s pretty darn cool, but there’s no functionality within the official integration to have your own timeline, i.e. the tweets of people you follow, show up in Slack nor is it possible to post tweets from Slack. Using Twitter’s Streaming API and Slack’s Real Time Messaging API, I built the middle piece that do those two things. I can post tweets from Slack and read tweets from my timeline. Cool, right?

You have to know a little bit about Twitter and Slack tokens to get this hooked up. You don’t have to host the program yourself: once you’ve gotten the tokens sorted out, you can quickly deploy it to Heroku. I recommend, nay, urge you to hook this up to a separate channel for the single purpose of reading and posting tweets. Posting any message under 140 characters will be published on your Twitter account.

I’ve only tried this with my personal Slack “team” and not a real world example. I can see how this might be interesting for a group to join the channel and read the tweets that the organization account follows, as well as ‘collaboratively’ post. I can’t wait to see what bugs that might cause, in a very public way.

It crashes every now and then, thanks to a memory leak somewhere along the line. There’s another heisenbug that periodically tweets a URL of a tweet from your timeline but I don’t know the pattern yet. Still interested? Take a look at the instructions and deploy to Heroku. It’s free!


Also published on Medium on March 24th, 2015.


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Flickr icon for Stephen Rees
Submitted by Stephen Rees on Sun 2009-10-18 22:27 #

words to live by

Seen on your photo stream. (?)

Flickr icon for roland
Submitted by roland on Sun 2009-10-25 08:51 #

amen brother !

Submitted by deleted on Thu 2011-03-17 01:07 #

Where can I order or get those?

Flickr icon for sillygwailo
Submitted by sillygwailo on Thu 2011-03-17 15:27 #

I saw it on a shop called Ride On Sports on Main St. in Vancouver. Give 'em a call and see if they have any to sell.

Flickr icon for sillygwailo
Submitted by sillygwailo on Thu 2011-03-17 15:27 #

I saw it on a shop called Ride On Again on Main St. in Vancouver. Give 'em a call and see if they have any to sell.

The above comments will not display in the recently updated section because they are syndicated directly from the Flickr photo.

Speaking at Northern Voice Again

On Friday at 3:00 PM, I'll speak very briefly about the subject of microblogging at Northern Voice 2009. My slides, in typical very minimalistic form, are done. For those interested in Twitter (and some of its related tools), as well as the location-centered Brightkite, I plan on spending talking for about 15 minutes discussing both the concept and the tools, then opening up the session, only a half-hour long in total, to conversation and questions.

Elastic Path's Linda Bustos interviews Ma.gnolia's Todd Sieling about Twitter
Todd presented at BarCamp on using the service to keep people interested in your company up to date on what's going, as well as having a conversation about feedback for your company.
Robert Scoble interviews Twitter
I fast-forwarded to the part with Al3x, but I'll probably also watch the rest at some point.
Mike from doesn't approve of people using Twitter's in unintended ways
If anything, Twitter should remove the "What are you doing?" question and let people use it for whatever they want.
My Twitter
In case you were wondering. For one-liners, and sometimes communication.