The writers Support phrase, given the (deliberate) lack of punctuation, connotes both:
- writers’ support (get)
- writers support (give)
Silent S.O.S. pleas echo in the writer’s mind, as inner critic Poindexter feasts on insecurities. Thrusting that reality directly into the name of this project / tool = my way of smacking Poinny to da floe!
4 required accounts: Instagram, Twitter, Telegram, and IFTTT. Setup cheat sheets for Telegram and IFTTT follow.
To scratch the gimme-engagement itch, you begin with a DM request—for the participation key—sent to my @writesquire_bojo Instagram account. This procedure deters spam.
Operationally, you tweet your social / blog URL, adhering to a template. The tweet template
- triggers Telegram’s power to create a list, &
- resolves technical problems discovered while testing.
An IFTTT applet marries Twitter to Telegram, forging the described interplay.
Telegram converts tweets into a searchable stream with clickable URLs, all accessible in one dedicated channel.
✦︎ Rules of the Road
1️⃣ Tweet each URL only once
Susie joins this project on the launch date. Jim joins months later. Both enjoy equal access to all content. Dupes serve no positive purpose.
2️⃣ ≤︎ 3-tweets max, daily, one at a time
Excess or machine-gun tweeting, by multiple people, risks flooding IFTTT. When IFTTT pinpoints this applet as the flood source, it will shut down the applet for a substantial period. Telegram’s chronological listing will reveal, to all, the obnoxious culprit.
3️⃣ wS.O.S. = an ENGAGEMENT, NOT promo, vehicle.
An embarrassment of riches accommodates direct promotion ventures, including books. This ain’t one of ’em, thus lessening the server load.
👀 Some folks mistake kindness for weakness, surmising a generous heart signals a doormat spirit. Unwise.
⚖️ Consequences for rule violations? Eviction. Ban. Violator’s data vanishes. Subsequent tweets die mid-air. Summary: blatant disrespect detonates Bye Felicia! mode.
Mechanics of the wS.O.S. Tool
Tweet → IFTTT → Telegram shared list ← participants mutually engage
✦︎ Goals During Tool Creation, with Result
Telegram alone smiled at every requisite I established:
- no tier-induced limitations
- accessible with any device
- anti-spam/jerks feature
- powerful search feature
- access to the entire list by every newcomer
- flexibility for adding features by administrator (i.e. Pam, via bots)
In addition, certain goals elucidate my approach re this tool.
✅ participants get up and running with minimal grief
→ → one-click IFTTT applet
✅ catch inadvertent typos in tweets which prevented IFTTT capture
→ → participant checks the Telegram listing to confirm latest intended addition (you can Telegram search on your Twitter @handle to focus exclusively on your tweets)
→ → export feature (non-proprietary format)
✅ technique limiting participation to writers
✅ process to dwarf number of proven follow/unfollow writers, a/k/a jerks
→ → InstaGram’s DM feature
→ InstaGram as Gatekeeper: Joining the Project
I exploit IG’s DM (Direct Message) feature to restrict this tool to writers, by providing the participation key only via responsive DM. DM your request to @writesquire_bujo.
☑️ I review every stream before I follow it. I follow just about every writer who follows me. Because mutual IG-following scenarios pass the “writer” and “likely to reciprocate support” hurdles, these folks jump to the front of the line.
🚫 The M&M Crew (Moral Midgets) draw follows, then promptly unfollow per their numbers obsession. My responsive habit: blocked!, to prevent repeats. The unanticipated gift: Instagram never delivers DMs from those I block. Pretty cool self-elimination, eh?!
🙋🏽 The remaining DMs, from folks I don’t (yet) follow, land in the “request” area. Processing involves reviewing each stream to confirm writer status & access mutual-support likelihood. I’ll move to that area after processing all requests from those I follow.
🤗 IG DM bonus: my DM replies = tool for pinpointing interlopers on Telegram (cuz a slickster passed on the secret entry key).
Respecting Your Right to Know
This section advises how the tools powering this project function.
✦︎ IFTTT-Twitter Connection
IFTTT will NOT post to your Twitter stream. It monitors your stream for language designed to trigger IFTTT’s automation. When it finds a template-style tweet, IFTTT passes it to Telegram.
Private Twitter streams can’t play in the wS.O.S. engagement garden, because only followers can view private accounts. IFTTT follows no one.
Telegram receives and inspects tweets, adding approved tweets to our channel.
The IFTTT applet adds Telegram’s eye-candy Preview command. But testing unearthed Preview’s sunnuvaBeast persona. The tweet template tames Preview.
Telegram’s muscular search charms. Example: I wanted to confirm a blog post publication date. Waaaaay faster than searching at the server or via the WordPress iOS app.
✦︎ Summary; Data Removal Requests
You choose what info to make public, via your template-tweets.
If you want your info removed from this project’s channel, search for @writesquire using the Telegram search bar, then forward the tweet to delete. I’ll send confirmation, listing the deletion date.
Note: I control only the areas of Telegram I created. If someone copies/forwards your data, I can do nothing.
IG | Twitter → IFTTT → Telegram.
Focus per account:
- Instagram: participation key request ← gatekeeper function
- Twitter: tell us what ya want us to luv ← engagement targets
- IFTTT: captures from Twitter, gives to Telegram
- Telegram: searchable listing of the tweeted resources
Instagram and Twitter enjoy global familiarity. Therefore, I’ll delve only into the specifics of Telegram and IFTTT setup.
1️⃣ Set the Groundwork Among Services
This cheat sheet encourages a speedy setup. 😎
Download the app to your preferred devices. Telegram, like every messaging app, wants a phone number for registration. Pull a Pam — by protecting your cell number.
… Use a gmail account to create a Google Voice number at desktop https://www.google.com/voice/. Google needs a cell number to verify via a code. Receive / enter code; verification completes. Unlink the cell, thereby placing the GV number in stand-alone mode. Download the Google Voice mobile app. Enter login credentials. WiFi proves sufficient for related communications on iPad & elsewhere.
What happens when out & about? Hit McDonald’s. MickeyD’s is everywhere, as is its free WiFi. Typically, you can connect while seated in the parking lot.
Telegram accepts the (GV) number, sending a verification code. Enter it where prompted. Confirmation ensues.
Switch to a desktop machine to visit web.telegram.org. Sign in. Keep this Telegram tab open. Open another tab to visit Twitter.com and log in. Leave this second tab open as well. Open a third tab, for IFTTT chores.
Use a desktop machine to create an account at IFTTT.com. (iPad’s desktop pretense will convert you to a cussFest champ.)
IFTTT demands an email address and password. (Or you can enter through a Google or Facebook account.)
- create login credentials at IFTTT.com
- successful credentials creation auto-logs you into IFTTT; enter ifttt.com/channels in the URL address field
- on that IFTTT channels page, enter Twitter in the search bar, then tap the Twitter icon
- this takes you to IFTTT’s Twitter Channel page
- tap the large Connect button; follow on-screen prompts authorizing IFTTT to access Twitter (takes seconds, because you’re already logged into your Twitter account); connection confirmation appears
- after the IFTTT-Twitter authorization completes, repeat steps 3-5, substituting Telegram for Twitter; authorize IFTTT to connect with Telegram
- in a new (fourth) tab’s address field, enter the Telegram URL provided in my Instagram welcome! reply DM. Hit your Enter / Return key. You’ll be prompted to join this project’s Telegram Channel. Accept. Check in your Telegram mobile app to ensure the channel appears (left column). If not, re-check the above connect-Telegram steps.
2️⃣ Activate the Required IFTTT Applet
Using your desktop machine, access the applet directly: wS.O.S. IFTTT Applet
Flip the visible switch to activate the applet.
Clicking the Join button on the Telegram page added you to the wS.O.S. channel. Observe the blue arrow in the above red-applet pic. When you access that section after turning on the wS.O.S. applet, you’ll see our Channel in the drop down list. Select it. Save. Applet configuration is now completed.
All required background mechanics are now in place.
Tweeting Your Goodies: Required Template
4-5 segments comprise the template. Only 4 parts are needed when tweeting a base URL (e.g., myblog.com, pinterest.com/UserName). But a specific blog / Facebook post, Pinterest board, etc warrants 5 segments.
@handle #hashtag zNetworkName URL (Title)
@handle #hashtag zFacebook https://facebook.com/writesquire
@handle #hashtag zBlog https://writesquire.com
@handle #hashtag zBlog https://writesquire.com/2019/04/neatoh-free-writer-support-tool NeatOh Writer Support
The @… and #… remain identical in every tweet. The structure eases copy/paste tasks, keeping the always-include items (@…, #…) first.
Twitter deems a tweet starting with @handle a reply. Twitter makes a reply invisible to everyone, with limited exceptions. That invisibility dwarfs spam potential.
IFTTT will ignore some tweets due to the absence of certain language (👋🏽 auto-correct and mental hiccups). You should develop the habit of checking the Telegram stream, to confirm your intended tweet arrived.
This “reply” trick also gives me a backup, courtesy of Twitter’s export tool.
The project hashtag unlocks the participation door. (See the prior Instagram as Gatekeeper section).
Testing indicates Twitter replaces true URLs with t.co shortie URLs. Yet, Twitter-owned TweetDeck respects the long URL, presenting it as submitted. Further testing confirmed the “maybe” nature of the shortie-over-long URL substitution.
Including the NetworkName ensures a visual indicator of the type of resource, in all circumstances.
Insert a z before the indicator: zPinterest, zBlog, zFacebook, etc. More than 15 billion messages flow through Telegram daily. We aren’t alone in referencing social media names/URLs or blogs. Searches on these generic words guarantee a deluge of false hits. Injecting the z-generated uniqueness precludes false hits.
4️⃣ Full URL
The full URL will appear as-is in TweetDeck and a few other apps, including your Twitter Profile’s sent stream. Read: your personalized reference list.
5️⃣ Title, for pointers to a specific post
We can’t rely on the URL you write to alert colleagues to the type of content tweeted. The zNetworkName signals the network. Adding a title describes a specific post, otherwise buried under the shortie URL. As you’ll see in the next section, pointing to a specific post, as opposed to the base URL, also offers a delightful benefit.
👀 Show, don’t tell: URL + Preview Hassles Illustrated, & Resolved
Preview restores what the shortie URL removes: info about the linked item. It adds visual interest, IF we dance around Preview’s grrr‘s. Visual interest rotates retinas, increasing the odds of clicks.
The applet permits multiple commands, including (plain) TEXT and EMBED (Preview guy). Oddly, Preview would not kick in unless I included both commands. This results in content duplication. Compare the blue block of text (TEXT command) with the green block (EMBED) → duplication!
The dupes infuriate me, but I clutch a maxim: perfection is the enemy of progress. So for now, the dupes remain. I added serial dots between the two, making it easier to ignore The Who-cares top (blue) section. SMH.
In each set of pics below, we first see a tweeted base URL, as it appears within Telegram. The second pic shows the effects of a workaround, e.g. the tweet-template, or pointing to a specific post rather than the base URL.
→ Facebook Page
Standard Base URL
Red vertical line = preview of facebook.com/writesquire
Hmmm, nuffin‘ to inspire a click. Let’s switch to a specific post.
URL to a specific Facebook Page post
Didcha notice? The yellow highlighted part shows a full URL, just before the pic, which I did not tweet. How? Cuz Twitter never got its mitts on that URL. Telegram pulled the URL, with the pic, directly from my Facebook Page …. via the Preview command I embedded in the applet.
Bonus: That yellow highlighted URL? Clickable, babeeeeeee! 🤗💃🏽
Standard Base URL / your home page
URL to a specific pin
Standard Base URL
URL to a specific Instagram post
Curing the wSOS Tool’s One Ignored Item: BackLinks
Short and sweet: couldn’t discern how to work BackLinks into this scheme; did conjure a workaround.
This blog now employs “CommentLuv.” When you complete all fields and checkmark the CommentLuv box, a dropdown menu appears. It lists your 10 most recent blog posts. Selecting one creates a backlink.
Can’t make up your mind which among the 10 to choose? Add one to this page, then use the search box at the top of my right sidebar, or the Tag Cloud below it. Look for a post pertinent to another article you want to link. Then add a comment on that post as well, selecting your 2d/ 3d/ etc article.
⚠️ Fair warning: ⚠️ This blog attracts spam up the wazoo. Curt ain’t-relevant-to-diddly comments get auto-marked as spam and trashed. (Psst! Google smiles at backlinks relevant to both host and linked pages.)
I’ll post updates to our channel (#wSOSalert). Example: I envision comment capability. When I learn and implement it, I’ll send an alert.
My initial writing dream focused on me alone → “too small” as a worthy goal. I buffed my focus. Incorporating my appreciation of fellow writers nourished the seed for this project.
Some writers embrace writing solo over indulging social ventures. The wS.O.S. tool empowers mutual engagement, in a manner responsive to both introvert tendencies and social media needs.
You’ve learned about the:
- mechanism for encouraging engagement within the #writingCommunity
- rationale for each step comprising this tool
- apps required, with setup tips
- procedure for joining this project
- manner in which IFTTT interacts with Twitter & Telegram
- rules of the road— coerced by tech goblins & jerk avoidance
Your cost? $0, 1 smile, 2 grins, and a fair play spirit.