Archaeology, Social Media, and the in-the-field workflow

Posted by on Apr 25, 2010 in Dirt, Research and Engagement | 2 Comments

I have been using Digital Social Media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr to show real-time posts to the fans of Campus Archaeology while we are excavating in the field. These messages are all attached to an image, so making sure the image is visible on all three of these media are important. Until recently, this has required me to use multiple iPhone apps, going through a number of steps, and to use a number of web tools in order to make things look integrated for our users. This was a hassle on my end, as many of these tools were too unreliable, required too many keystrokes, or didn’t provide high quality posts on all the platforms. Additionally, it took time away from me supervising the work being done in the field.

FINALLY, I have discovered a way to simultaneously post to Twitter, a Facebook PAGE, and Flickr with only typing one post, and to make each of those posts show up looking as if they were originally posted from that social media site. It requires three tools, one iPhone app and two web-based twitter clients that do all the work behind the scenes. For me, I only have to take one picture and attach it to one tweet, and it gets posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. Here are the tools.

gdzl.la: The first step, after you have signed up for a Twitter account, started a Facebook Page, and opened a Flickr account, is to visit gdzl.la. This tool is a Twitter photo client, and connects your Twitter photos to your Flickr account. Essentially, this gets rid of the need for TweetPhoto, or any of those other sites, and makes Flickr the primary storage home for these photos. This means that, if people want to, they can react and respond to these photos in Flickr, and also look at all of your other photos from Flickr.

Tweetie 2/Twitter for iPhone:¬†gdzl.la has one drawback: at the moment it only works with Tweetie 2 (which has recently been purchased by Twitter and will soon be free and called “Twitter for iPhone”). I believe this is because Tweetie 2 is the only Twitter app that allows you to enter a custom primary image client. I could be wrong. This is extra unfortunate, because it also restricts the usage of gdzl.la to the iPhone. So, unless something changes, this iPhone app is a necessary component for this workflow to work properly (please, if there are other phones or apps this will work with, let me know in the comments and I’ll add it here).

UPDATE: gdzl.la himself made a comment about this topic down below, so keep on reading!

At any rate, with Tweetie 2 and gdzl.la, every photo I take from the field and post to Twitter automatically gets posted to Flickr, with the Twitter message serving as the photo title.

tweetpo.st: I just found tweetpo.st. It is another web based client that reposts your Twitter posts to your Facebook Profile. However, this goes many steps beyond what a lot of clients are capable of doing. For starters, it can link a Twitter account to a Facebook Page, something I have had a lot of trouble finding. Secondly, instead of simply rebroadcasting the tweet, along with the url in the text, tweetpo.st recognizes the url link, finds an image from it, and posts it as if you had “attached” a link to a regular Facebook Status. For those of you concerned about quality posts on Facebook, or who want a Facebook page that is full of images and videos instead of status messages with URLs in them, this is an exciting and hard to find feature.¬†Additionally, tweetpo.st is making an effort to replace “@” Twitter messages with their equivalent “@” Facebook name. I’m not sure how this works, exactly, but the potential is pretty exciting. Another nice feature is that you can have as many pairs of Twitter accounts and Facebook accounts paired up, in case you are running a number of accounts.

So, here is how it works when these are all put together:

  1. take a picture with Twitter for iPhone/Tweetie 2.
  2. type your tweet.
  3. Send.
  4. gdzl.la sends the photo to flickr.
  5. tweetpo.st send the photo and message to your Facebook Page.

This is going to save me a number of keystrokes, lots of time while I’m in the field, and will make the experience for our Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter communities better on all fronts.

  • Glad you like gdzl.la! While we built the service for tweetie (it's our favorite twitter client), it actually works with any web or iphone-based service that conforms to the twitpic API standard. Our endpoint url, https://gdzl.la/go, will take any post request with a twitter username, password, message, and image data, and post to flickr, returning a gdzl.la url. You can read more about the standard on the tweetie developer page: http://developer.atebits.com/tweetie-iphone/cus

  • Glad you like gdzl.la! While we built the service for tweetie (it's our favorite twitter client), it actually works with any web or iphone-based service that conforms to the twitpic API standard. Our endpoint url, https://gdzl.la/go, will take any post request with a twitter username, password, message, and image data, and post to flickr, returning a gdzl.la url. You can read more about the standard on the tweetie developer page: http://developer.atebits.com/tweetie-iphone/cus