How to Automatically Post Your Google Calendar Events to Twitter

Get those events tweeted automatically when you create them.

I recently helped a friend set up a new Web site for his small but growing winery. I also set him up with Google Calendar and a WordPress plugin so he could create events and have them appear on his site’s sidebar in a calendar. You can see how this looks at BeaumontCellars.com as well as on one of my sites, FlyingMAir.com.

Although he’s not exactly “computer savvy,” he does do a lot of texting with his iPhone. So I set him up with Twitter and linked his Twitter account to his winery’s Facebook page. He can tweet what’s going on and its automatically posted to his Facebook page’s wall. This has been a huge help for him because it makes it so easy to update Facebook, where he has quite a few fans.

The next logical step was to have his Google Calendar events posted on Twitter so they could also get posted on Facebook. After a little bit of research and experimentation, I came up with this method.

Step 1: Create and Configure Your Google Calendar

The first step is to set up your Google calendar for sharing and copy the link for the calendar’s RSS feed.

  1. If you don’t already have a Google account, set one up and log in.
  2. Go to google.com/calendar. You may have to follow additional instructions to create and access your calendar; just follow the prompts that appear onscreen.
  3. If necessary, create a calendar to share events with Twitter.
  4. Calendar MenuIn the list of calendars on the left side of the window, point to the calendar you want to share and click the menu button that appears. A pop-up menu offers options.
  5. Choose Share this Calendar.

  6. Make PublicIn the page that appears, make sure the check box marked “Make this calendar public” is toggled on.
  7. Click the Calendar Details link.

  8. Calendar AddressScroll down to the Calendar Address area.

  9. Calendar AddressClick the XML button. A Calendar Address dialog pops up with the address for your calendar.
  10. Right-click the link and choose Copy Link from the menu that appears. The link is now in the clipboard so it can be pasted elsewhere.
  11. Close the Calendar Address dialog.

Step 2: Set Up the Feed in TwitterFeed

Next, you’ll set up the calendar’s feed in TwitterFeed.

  1. If you don’t already have a TwitterFeed account, go to TwitterFeed.com to set one up and log in.
  2. In the Feed Dashboard window, click the Create New Feed button. The New Feed screen appears.
  3. Name Feed and Add SourceIn the Feed Name box, enter any name you like for the calendar feed.
  4. Click in the Blog URL or RSS Feed URL box to position the insertion point there and press Command-V (Mac OS) or Control-V (Windows)-V to paste in the calendar address you copied to the clipboard in step 10 above.
  5. Click the test rss feed button. A green message “Feed parsed OK” should appear. (If it doesn’t, you’ll need to make sure the link you copied is correct and try again.)
  6. Make sure the Active Check box is turned on.
  7. Click Advanced Settings to display additional options.
  8. You can set these options as you see fit. My suggestions are as follows:
    • Choose Title from the pop-up menu in the Post Content area. (Remember, tweets are short; the description probably won’t fit within the 140 character limitation.)
    • Make sure the Post Link check box is turned on in the Post Content area.
    • Enter “New Event:” in the Post Prefix box.
  9. Click Continue to Step 2.
  10. In the Feed Publishing screen, click the Twitter link.
  11. Choose Twitter AccountChoose an account under Authenticated Twitter Account or, if the account is not listed, click the Authenticate Twitter button to log into the Twitter account you want to use.
  12. Click the Create Service button. After a moment, the name of your Twitter account appears beside the Twitter link, along with an checked Active check box.
  13. If you wanted to post to other social networking services, you can use their links to set them up.
  14. When you’re finished, click the All Done button.

Step 3: Test

Finally, test to make sure it works as expected.

  1. Go back to your Google Calendar and, if necessary, log in.
  2. Create a calendar event. Be sure to set the date and time and include a description. If you have more than one Google calendar, be sure to assign the event to the calendar you’re sharing with Twitter.
  3. Sign out of Google. You want to be able to check the event and see it as anyone else would.
  4. Tweet
    Monitor your Twitter account. If you did not make any changes to the frequency setting on Twitter Feed, the event should be posted to your Twitter account within 30 minutes.

  5. Event DetailsClick the link in the tweet. A Google Calendar page with the details you set for the event appears in a browser window.

Conclusion

To me, there’s a huge benefit it being able to post something one place and have it appear automatically in others. Using a tool like TwitterFeed to connect Twitter to RSS feeds is a great way to automate Twitter posting for your Web site or business.

Get more from your software.Want to learn more about using Twitter? Learn online at Lynda.com. Recently revised and expanded, my Twitter Essential Training course includes more than three hours of video training material that’ll help you get more out of Twitter. Check it out. If you’re not a Lynda.com subscriber, be sure to visit to try some of the free videos. I think you’ll be hooked.

Google Sitemap Article Now Online

Help Google index your WordPress site by setting up a sitemap.

My most recent article for Informit.com is now online: “Add A Google-Compatible Sitemap For Your WordPress Blog.” The article explains the steps you need to follow to set up a WordPress plugin that will automatically generate and update a Google-compatible sitemap. This can help Google index your site and improve your Google rankings.

RevenuSense

A Mac OS X Widget to track AdSense Revenue.

One of the things that bugs me about AdSense is that checking my AdSense reports is a multistep process:

  1. Launch my Web browser.
  2. Go to the AdSense home page.
  3. Enter login information. (My browser won’t remember it because I have an AdSense account and an AdWords account.)
  4. Click to log in.
  5. Select the report period.

Okay, so that’t not so much work. But wouldn’t it be nicer to just press a key and have yesterday’s, today’s, and the current month’s AdSense Revenue magically appear?

The RevenuSense WidgetThat’s basically what the RevenuSense widget does. Once installed and configured with your AdSense account’s e-mail address and password, it automatically queries Google for basic revenue information. Just leave the widget open on your Dashboard and press F12. The AdSense revenue information appears with all your other open widgets.

Additional configuration options include update frequency and currency conversions, so you can fine-tune how the display works.

I think this is a great tool for any Mac user with an AdSense account — especially bloggers, who often depend on AdSense revenue to pay for their blogging habits.

Upgrading WordPress to 2.1: The New Privacy Options

A new option for bloggers who don’t want to be indexed.

Privacy OptionsOne of the new features of WordPress 2.1 is the Privacy Options administration panel. This panel offers two options that control whether your blog is visible to search engines and archivers:

  • I would like my blog to be visible to everyone, including search engines (like Google, Sphere, Technorati) and archivers. This option, which is selected by default, allows search engine spiders and robots and crawlers to index your site and include it in search results.
  • I would like to block search engines, but allow normal visitors. This option makes your blog invisible to search engines and archivers but allows normal visitors to access it.

Why would you choose the second option? Well, suppose you have a private, family blog which is maintained solely for the use of your family. You wouldn’t want Google listing your entry about Aunt Sally’s colonoscopy as part of its search results, would you? The same goes for company-only blogs that are on the Internet but contains relatively confidential information.

Keep in mind that the Privacy Options do not prevent unauthorized site visitors from reading site content. Only password-protecting a post or securing the blog behind a firewall can do that. Instead, the search engine blocking feature just reduces the chance of someone stumbling onto the blog by accident as a result of a search.

To access this new feature on your blog, open Dashboard > Options > Privacy.

Get Me a Spelling Checker!

I used to know how to spell.

Plagiarism is not spelled plagerism. How embarrassing to have spelled it incorrectly — in the title, no less — of my previous post. I just fixed it.

Spelling checkers in word processing software have made me lazy. Why know how to spell a word when my word processor will simply underline it for me to call it to my attention if I get it wrong? Or, worse yet, simply fix it for me, as Microsoft Word often does? In exchange for convenience, just a little more of my mind is being sapped away by disuse.

WordPress, which I use to maintain this site, does not have a built-in spelling checker. That’s why you’ll see so many typos and misspelled words here. There’s no red underline to flag possible problems, so I just don’t notice them. I have, however, made a special effort to look up the spelling of words I’m not sure about (such as disuse and misspelled earlier in this entry). I do that with the Dictionary widget that’s part of Mac OS X. I leave it open and press F12 whenever I need to use it. Enter what I think is the right spelling and let Dictionary tell me if it recognizes the word. If it doesn’t, I think it out, trying to come up with the right spelling. It’s a good exercise for my brain.

The Dictionary widget is also useful when I’m reading an article online and need a word defined. Rather than try to glean meaning from use, I can just fetch the darn meaning to have a firmer grasp of the word and build my vocabulary.

If I can’t figure out a word’s spelling, I use Google. I enter my best guess at a word in Google’s search box — for example, plagerism — and Google instantly responds, “Did you mean plagiarism?” Uh, yeah. That’s what I meant.

Now at this point, Miraz, if she’s reading, is asking herself why I don’t use MarsEdit, like she does, to work with my WordPress blog. I tried it, but I wasn’t very impressed. I really don’t like using a lot of different software to complete a task. It’s more to learn. It’s more to figure out when it doesn’t work right. In my case, I couldn’t get MarsEdit to handle pictures the way I needed it to and I didn’t want to invest the time to make it work. I’ll probably use MarsEdit to do my blogging during the summer months when I’m away from a handy Internet connection most of the time.

So if you find a misspelled word in these blog entries, have patience with me. It could be my flying fingers unable to hit the keys in the right order. Or it could just be that I thought I knew how to spell the word…but was wrong.