No, I’m not a bot.

Periodically someone on Twitter will suggest that one of my Twitter accounts is a bot. Others will reply in the second person plural, suggesting that there’s a group of people behind one of the accounts. These accounts aren’t run by a bot or a committee, just me.

I do use software to schedule my tweets in advance. Most of the tweets from my personal account are live. Most of the tweets from my topic accounts are scheduled, though some are live. All replies are manual, not automated, and I don’t scrape content from anywhere.

Occasionally I read the responses to these accounts and sometimes I reply. But with over half a million followers (total, not unique) I don’t try to keep up with all the responses. If you’d like to contact me, you can do so here. That I do keep up with.

 

 

RSS feeds for Twitter accounts

Twitter once provided RSS feeds for all Twitter accounts. They no longer provide this service. However, third parties can create RSS feeds from the content of Twitter accounts. BazQux has done this for my daily tip accounts, so you can subscribe to any of my accounts via RSS using the feeds linked to below.

If you would like to subscribe to more Twitter accounts via RSS, you could subscribe to the BazQux service and create a custom RSS feed for whatever Twitter, Google+, or Facebook accounts you’d like to follow.

Perl regex twitter account

I’ve started a new Twitter account @PerlRegex for Perl regular expressions. My original account, @RegexTip, is for regular expressions in general and doesn’t go into much detail regarding any particular implementation. @PerlRegex goes into the specifics of regular expressions in Perl.

Why specifically Perl regular expressions? Because Perl has the most powerful support for regular expressions (strictly speaking, “pattern matching.”) Other languages offer “Perl compatible” regular expressions, though the degree of compatibility varies and is always less than complete.

I imagine more people have ruled England than have mastered the whole of the Perl language. But it’s possible to use Perl for regular expression processing without learning too much of the wider language.

PerlRegex icon

New Twitter account for networks

As I mentioned a few days ago, I’m winding down three of my Twitter accounts.

But I have started a new one: NetworkFact. This account has tweets about graph theory, analysis of large networks, etc.

Related links:

List of daily tip accounts

You can create an RSS feed for a Twitter account at RSS4Twitter, though they’re so overloaded that it might not work. You could also use BazQux RSS reader or try some of the alternatives mentioned in the comments here.

 

Twitter account turnover

I’m planning to wind down three of my Twitter accounts: ShortcutKeyTip, MusicTheoryTip, and DSP_fact. When the scheduled tweets for these three accounts run out, I won’t post new ones.

On the other hand, I may start a new account. I have a topic in mind, but I don’t know how hard it’ll be to say interesting things about it in 140 characters. If I start a new account I’ll announce it here.

Right now I have 15 accounts. If I close three, I’ll still have a dozen, a baker’s dozen if I add a new account.

Update (August 11, 2013): I decided to start the new account I alluded to in this post: NetworkFact, devoted to networks, graphs, and related topics.

How to subscribe to a Twitter account via RSS now

Twitter turned off their RSS support last month. This page gives several ways to create new RSS feeds for Twitter accounts.

Update (October 27, 2014): Here is a cost-free and ad-free Android app that is an RSS feed generator for Twitter.

Update (April 25, 2015): Here is a list of RSS feeds for each of my Twitter accounts, hosted by BazQux.

The easiest solution is to create an RSS feed via rss4twitter. Another possibility is to use BazQux RSS reader. Finally, a couple server-side solutions are given here.

Here are links to RSS feeds for my daily tip accounts that were created using rss4twitter.

Math:

AlgebraFact (Algebra, number theory, miscellaneous)
ProbFact (Probability)
Diff_eq (Differential equations)
StatFact (Statistics)
TopologyFact (Topology and geometry)
AnalysisFact (Analysis: real, complex, functional, etc.)

Computing:

CompSciFact (Computer science and programming)
UnixToolTip (Unix command line tools, Emacs, etc.)
SciPyTip (Scientific computing and Python)
RegexTip (Regular expressions)
TeXtip (TeX, LaTeX, and typography)

 

New Twitter accounts for DSP and music theory

I’ve started two new Twitter accounts this week: @DSP_fact and @MusicTheoryTip.

DSP_fact is for DSP, digital signal processing: filters, Fourier analysis, convolution, sampling, wavelets, etc.

MusicTheoryTip is for basic music theory with a little bias toward jazz. It’ll tweet about harmony, scales, tuning, notation, etc.

Here’s a full list of my 15 daily tip twitter accounts.

If you’re interested in one of these accounts but don’t use Twitter, you can subscribe to a Twitter account via RSS just as you’d subscribe to a blog.

If you’re using Google Reader to subscribe to RSS feeds, you’ll need to switch to something else by July 1. Here are 18 alternatives.

Are tweets more accurate than science papers?

John Myles White brings up an interesting question on Twitter:

Ioannidis thinks most published biological research findings are false. Do you think >50% of tweets are false?

I’m inclined to think tweets may be more accurate than research papers, mostly because people tweet about mundane things that they understand. If someone says that there’s a long line at the Apple store, I believe them. When someone says that a food increases or decreases your risk of some malady, I’m more skeptical. I’ll wait to see such a result replicated before I put much faith in it. A lot of tweets are jokes or opinions, but of those that are factual statements, they’re often true.

Tweets are not subject to publication pressure; few people risk losing their job if they don’t tweet. There’s also not a positive publication bias: people can tweet positive or negative conclusions. There is a bias toward tweeting what makes you look good, but that’s not limited to Twitter.

Errors are corrected quickly on Twitter. When I make factual errors on Twitter, I usually hear about it within minutes. As the saga of Anil Potti illustrates, errors or fraud in scientific papers can take years to retract.

(My experience with Twitter may be atypical. I follow people with a relatively high signal to noise ratio, and among those I have a shorter list that I keep up with.)

Related: