Tumbling across the friendly pipes

This connected day and age has brought forth the end of isolation. Publishing one’s own essays, news, rants, photos and the like is essentially free-as-in-beer; the scarcity part of the equation has shifted to attention. Scattering these tiny shards of the self all around the intertubes only compounds to the problem: what’s one to do, though? No tool covers all possible needs, nor should we wish to! Remember UNIX philosophy —to do one thing, and to do it well.

Long time FriendFeed users know the solution to self-generated content dispersion. FriendFeed aggregates your different digital selves: for me it’s my blog, my tumblelog, my Twitter feed, my Flickr account, my Google Reader faves… you name it —and by no means I consider myself a social web junkie! (You mean there are worse cases out there? Outrageous!) In any case, Friendfeed takes your tiny social web mini-mes and assembles a coherent footprint out of them. Well, maybe not so coherent, but a footprint for sure.

FriendFeed is as good as the quality of its integration services. They are a-plenty nowadays, around 57 plus a generic RSS connector. My woes have been directed mainly to its Tumblr import abilities: being a tumblelog, I feel the format is rather similar to a single FF entry, only less limited —just as a FF entry is about the same as an overweight twit. I’d like my Tumblr posts to appear at FriendFeed as an entry+comment combination: the entry would carry a link to the original source, while the comment carries the (usually short) post body text. Nobody ever visits my tumblelog directly, so I’d prefer the link to point not to my post, but a further step up the ladder to the original news/wisdom/ditty/whatever that prompted my annotation.

FriendFeed’s Tumblr integration is much more simple, so how about some mad hacking skillz session? Tumblr4FriendFeed is a Yahoo pipe that aims to reach my set goal. It has been tested against the two Tumblr post types I use the most, namely links and photos. It even shortens the original URL by means of a subpipe, Shorten URL, that takes advantage of the very simple API set up by cort.as URL shortening service, just for the sake of it.

By all means, feel free to clone the pipe and play with it! You may import it into FriendFeed using the Custom RSS/Atom service. Don’t forget to select “Include entry description as a comment”, otherwise the body text of your Tumblr posts won’t display. There are undoubtedly many more test cases than the paltry few I fed it, but as far as I am concerned, it just works™. Therefore, I hereby declare this particular itch to be scratched. Thank you for listening.