As a weekend experiment I was looking at how to determine the Twitter accounts for a list of non-profits. In the process I created a more generalized tool called luckysocial that will:

  1. Do an I’m Feeling Lucky search on Google (the first hit for a query)
  2. Look for social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube) on the lucky page.

Here’s how it looks at the command line, although you can also use it in batch mode to annotate a CSV file:

% luckysocial 'University of Maryland'

name: University of Maryland

While I was at it I thought it could be fun to look for an RSS feed on the page too:

% luckysocial 'Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities'

name: Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities

Running the tool over the 2,023 non-profits I was working with I was surprised a bit by the coverage:

  • Twitter: 68%
  • Facebook: 72%
  • Instagram: 54%
  • YouTube: 18%
  • RSS: 56%

I was kinda surprised that Twitter fared almost as well as Facebook since Facebook’s footprint is claimed to be so much bigger on the web. Although perhaps that’s just a side effect of looking at a set of non-profits.

But the main thing that stood out to me was the number of RSS feeds on these websites. I didn’t dive into the details yet but I suspect this may be the result of the heavy presence of Wordpress in these non-profit sites.

I find this heartening that after years of people saying RSS is dead, it clearly is not. Partly in celebration, and continuing my somewhat tongue-in-cheek revolt against corporate social media, I installed FreshRSS here on I’ve never really loved using Feedly since Google Reader bit the dust, and I’ve been wanting to learn more about how WebSub works. So hopefully this would be another fun experiment in old-web technology.

And speaking of old-web, opensource technology: I’ve gotta hand it to Wordpress for their continued ability to withstand the corporate social media juggernaut.