wordpress, tweetdeck and UTF-8 code substitutions

This is a bit off the beaten track for me, but what the heck – if it helps just one person, I’ll be pleased.

I manage a Twitter account for NYU prof Mark Crispin Miller (@mcrispinmiller), which I have set up so that his WordPress RSS feed is pushed to Twitter via Twitterfeed. I noticed early on that quotes and apostrophes in the titles and descriptions weren’t being parsed correctly in Tweetdeck but I ignored it, thinking maybe it was a Tweetdeck issue.

Mark’s tweets looked like this:


I received a few complaints from one of Mark’s followers who thought the UTF-8 codes were hashtags, “Mark, one tag is enough…” (everyone is a Twitter “expert” these days, le sigh) … so instead of rebelling through inaction, I spent some time today looking for a solution and I’m happy to report I found one.

Two things you can try:

1) The easy way if it works – if you only care about single and double quotation marks, try the wpuntexturize plugin which prevents “WordPress from displaying single and double quotation marks as their curly alternatives”;

2) Or the more intensive solution, which I found worked the best, create a Yahoo Pipe and strip out the html using MyridoM’s instructions here. One modification I made: I repeated the operator instructions for item.title in addition to item.description. After you’ve saved your Pipe, go to Twitterfeed and replace the WordPress RSS feed with your new Yahoo Pipe RSS feed. Problem solved.

So far so good, the tweets have displayed correctly.

By the way, on another WordPress tip, if you haven’t installed the Backtype Connect plugin yet, omg – it kicks serious ass! Basically it allows you to integrate tweets, comments and conversations from other sources like other blogs, Twitter, FriendFeed, Digg, Reddit. I’ve installed it on four blogs now and it works amazingly well. Remember, it requires PHP 5.

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4 Responses to “wordpress, tweetdeck and UTF-8 code substitutions”

  1. lilydustbin says:

    fix for annoying wordpress to twitterfeed character issues – http://bit.ly/PfYRJ
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  2. I’m suffering the same fate using Twitterfeed and Tweetdeck, and sadly, your fix won’t work for a blog on WordPress.com. Any other ideas would be most welcome. The issue appears to be caused by WordPress.com using UTF in the RSS feed, which then gets passed on through Twitterfeed and can’t be decoded by Tweetdeck. Tweets look fine on Twitter.com. It’s beyond annoying!

  3. lilydustbin says:

    Hi Deborah, Solution #2 should be what you’re looking for – it strips the RSS feed down to basic text. I don’t think it makes a difference whether you’re running a standalone installation of WordPress or a wordpress.com blog. Give it a try, what have you got to lose and you’re right – it’s a problem beyond annoying!

  4. Thanks for the advice. I built a Yahoo! pipe, as suggested, to strip out symbols but Tweetdeck still screws up punctuation. What’s baffling is that I’m not seeing this problem in other people’s posts from Twitterfeed to Tweetdeck. Could it be that this is an issue only with WordPress.com? Anybody?