Using twitter as a route to channel data to other apps is something I've played with for a while. 

Back in 2009 I knocked up a wee site to turn tweets into charts – mainly to document coffee overconsumption and cycling mediocrity – some examples here. (I haven't kept the ever changing twitter API stuff up to date, so it's not consuming new tweets, or allowing new sign ups any more.)

The downside of using datatoy was that I looked somewhat mental and self obsessed to my followers. “bikerun 21 km” and “coffee 1 nero triple latte” are hardly classic tweets.

It was like the Path sleep/wake nonsense.

I'm now playing with things like Arduino, Twine and odd toothbrush APIs  – and I really want to feed some of the data from these through twitter. Routing through twitter opens up options for easily processing through sites like ifttt.com, and lets me watch the stream of data in one place if I want to. 

But this would create a lot of junk tweets. Junk tweets really annoy people. And really annoyed people sometimes kill. I don't want to be killed. 

I could create a new twitter account just for these tweets, but that's a bit faily. There has to be a better way.

#self

A standard marker like #self at the end of the tweet would allow clients to filter out all these auto tweets. So followers see a nice clean twitter feed, the tweeter has the convenience of a single twitter account, and the auto tweets can follow a nice clean path. A lot of clients have mute filters. Adding #self kills these tweets immediately.  

Mute-self

So my examples above become “bikerun 21 km #self” and “coffee 1 nero triple latte #self”. 

Wider adoption of this principle beyond twitter could make the Path wake/sleep option useful again. I love the feature, but I don't want to flood everyones stream with my boring sleep tracking. Applying a #self tag would allow others to easily ignore that message. 

If I want to use runkeeper, track my blood pressure through a sensor, or hook my wireless bathroom scales to my twitter, or monitor the quality of my toothbrushing – I just apply the #self tag.

Then when I want to process the data I just hook up to my tweets mentioning #self.

The tweets are still public, and can be viewed like any other when not filtered out. So 3rd party sites don't need full auth to just consume my feed and do stuff with my data – produce visualisations, summaries, reactions.