Building A Useful Mini-Feed – FriendFeed


If you followed the advice in my previous article then your Mini-Feed might be looking a little empty, it appears not much is happening. Now we will start to get a good flow of information into the feed using another online tool – FriendFeed.

FriendFeed is a little like twitter, it allows people who want to know what you are doing to ‘follow’ your FriendFeed. The power it has over twitter is that it can be set up to automatically add items to your feed when you do things on other sites.

Like twitter FriendFeed has a Facebook application and this application adds items to your Mini-Feed. This is where the real power lies. Before you get a FriendFeed account let’s make sure we have some things to easily add to the Feed.

If you check on FriendFeed you will discover that you can automatically import items if you add a photo to Flickr or Picasa, post a video to YouTube, add an item to your Amazon wishlist and even when you post to Tumblr, Blogger or another blog. I suggest you play around with all of these and see which suits you best.

Adding to your FriendFeed

The first thing we want is a way to easily add interesting stories we see online. I’ve found that the easiest way to do this is to read all my websites via RSS using Google Reader. Then underneath each item is a link “Share with note”. Click on this and a dialog open allowing you to enter a personal note which will appear with the item you’re sharing in Google Reader. Google Reader is a good online RSS reader. Once you have an account you can get a button for your bookmark bar (this is called a ‘bookmarklet’) that will allow you to go to your favourite blogs and quickly subscribe to them in Google Reader.

For more important things you see you might want to create a more detailed note talking about the webpage. For these I use Tumblr. Tumblr is another micro-blogging system that allows you to quickly add a post to your feed. You can get a bookmarklet for it, too. When you are on a web page you think your readers might like click on the Tumblr bookmarklet and a dialog open alowing you to write a description and tell your readers why they might want to see the item.

Adding links

To add links to web pages to our FriendFeed there are several methods. If you use an online bookmark manager such as del.icio.us then any bookmarks you add can go to your FriendFeed. You can also get a “Share..” bookmarklet for Google Reader that allows you to produce a note with the URL in your Google Reader shared items. I’ve found that using delicious is best for links as the description you add flows through to your FriendFeed while for Tumblr and Reader posts only the post title goes through. I have to admit to being an avid delicious user due to its tight integration with Firefox (it has an excellent plugin) and the ability to view my bookmarks from any computer.

For long articles the easiest thing to do is get yourself an account at Blogger and have a good quality, free hosted blog. It’s quickly set up and you can run advertising, tailor the look and FriendFeed will easily pick up your new posts.

Once you have a good flow of information into your FriendFeed then add the FriendFeed application to your Facebook account and it will keep a steady flow of interesting things to your Mini-Feed. Once people recognise the value of the information in your Mini-Feed they are much more likely to watch your Mini-Feed, FriendFeed or (hopefully) your blog.

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