Ever wanted someone’s tweets to be read aloud to you? In a soothing, slightly robotic voice?
Here’s some good news: now you can make Amazon Alexa automatically read out any Twitter account.
All you need are about 15 minutes, a Twitter account and a couple of handy tools: Zapier and Shoutworks.
(Don’t have a WordPress page? Sign up for the Shoutworks standard plan and we’ll give you a free WordPress page along with it.)
Seriously, some of the most inspiring people in the world are dropping wisdom daily on Twitter dot com.
In sales, when you’re nice, people like you. When people like you, they’re willing to entertain your idea.
— Barbara Corcoran (@BarbaraCorcoran) May 23, 2020
And some of the best Alexa skills are focused on quotes.
Put the two together, and you have a winning engagement strategy. People love to say “Hey Alexa” to get inspiration, a laugh, whatever.
Plus, smart speaker usage has absolutely popped off since the beginning of the pandemic. There are now 200+ million Alexa devices in homes, and usage is through the roof.
Alexa usage the past 3 months measured through Skill utterances. Almost a 100% increase in Alexa Skill traffic the past 30 days during self-quarantine.
— Braden Ream (@ReamBraden) April 12, 2020
There has never been a better time to engage people through these devices. And here’s an easy, automatic way to do it.
See what it sounds like
Here’s an Alexa skill we made to automatically pull from a Twitter account that tweets quotes from Nicholas Nassim Taleb (author of Black Swan, Antifragile).
Take a look at the Twitter account, and then try the Alexa skill. It’s called Taleb Wisdom.
Just say: “Alexa, open Taleb Wisdom” and you’ll be regaled with quotes like this one:
“Never ask the doctor what you should do. Ask him what he would do if he were in your place. You would be surprised at the difference.” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb in Antifragile
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Wisdom (@TalebWisdom) May 23, 2020
Don’t have an Alexa device? You can use Alexa on your smartphone, PC, or other device—to find out how, go here.
How to publish tweets to Alexa
This should take you about 15 minutes to set up and it runs forever, completely automatically. Set it and forget it, and start engaging people through Alexa.
1. Choose the Twitter account you want to “give voice” to.
Choose an account that has a lot of text-only tweets and posts often. You can choose any account you’d like.
2. Get Shoutworks ready in your WordPress site.
Make sure the plugin is activated with your license key, then move on to number 3.
3. Use Zapier to connect Twitter to WordPress.
Sign up for Zapier and create a new zap that creates a post in WordPress when a user tweets.
Zapier will prompt you to connect your Twitter account, then it will ask which user’s tweets you want to take as input.
Follow the prompts and you can’t go wrong!
Then, Zapier will prompt you to connect your WordPress site.
When it asks you to choose a “post type” be sure to select “Quotes”. This will pull all new tweets into the “Quote of the Day” section in your new Alexa skill.
If you want to pull the tweets into a different section of your Alexa skill, like Flash Briefings or Deals, or even Posts (which connects to the Blog Reader function), go right ahead.
Set the Title to “User screen name”, set the “Content” to “Text”, and set the “Status” to “Published”. You can leave the rest of the fields blank.
When you have verified that Zapier has successfully created the post in WordPress, turn the zap on.
4. Set up your Alexa skill in the Shoutworks plugin.
Let’s say you want to create an Alexa skill that contains just a Quote of the Day section (and doesn’t include Flash Briefing, Deal of the Day, etc.). Here’s what you have to do:
Start in the “Inform” tab, and write an intro for your Alexa skill. Keep it short and sweet.
Then, move on to the “Engage” tab. If you’re creating a skill that only contains a Quote of the Day, be sure to un-check the boxes for Flash Briefing and Blog Reader, then press Update.
Go to the “Sell” tab, un-check the Deal of the Day feature (if you want to), and press Update again.
Over to the “Support” tab and put in the email address at which you’d like to receive messages from users.
Finally, head over to the “Create Alexa Skill” tab. Here you’ll enter your skill name and invocation name, put in an email to beta test your skill, and click Preview. You’ll get a link to test the skill in your email.
Once you’ve tested your skill and you’re happy with it, go ahead and click Publish.
In a day or two, your skill will be live. And Alexa will be saying tweets from any account you desire.
The Twitter-sphere is now audible
Whose quotes will you publish to Alexa? I can think of a few good candidates…
i set boundaries for myself, it’s time to cross the lineeee
— nope (@LilNasX) May 22, 2020
“You will get rich by giving society what it wants but does not yet know how to get. At scale.” – @naval
— Naval Ravikant Bot (@NavalBot) May 16, 2020
Writing about the content you consume will help you:
• Better select it (can’t write about everything)
• Better understand it (can’t write about what you don’t get)
• Better remember it (generation effect means better memory)
(writing in your own words not pasting snippets)
— Anne-Laure Le Cunff (@anthilemoon) May 12, 2020