Feed Me, Seymour!


Just about everyone knows about RSS and how to aggregate their feeds, so I won’t get into that here. I just wanted to share something that you might not realize that you could do with your Google Reader (if that is your RSS reader of choice, of choice). I will demonstrate how easy it is to share all of your own personal feeds from your blogs, twitter, utterz, Flickr, etc. As you know, Google Reader allows you to share anything you read by simply clicking Share at the bottom of the post you’re reading.
It will then appear in your Shared Items folder:

OK, that’s all basic stuff so far. Here’s where the fun stuff happens.

  • Click on the Feed Settings button
  • Select New Folder
  • Enter My Feeds

You will now have a new folder to store all of your own personal feeds. Now let’s start adding your feeds.

  • Click the Add Subscription button and start with your own blog(s) by entering their feeds (feedburner being the best, of course)
  • Add any of your micro-blogging feeds that you have, such as Twitter (www.twitter.com/YourName), Utterz (go to profile to copy the rss feed link), Tumblr (YourName.tumblr.com), Pownce (www.pownce.com/YourName), etc.
  • Add any other feeds you have from sites like 43things.com, Flickr, etc.

Here’s how My Feeds look (Only added some of my many feeds):

Combining your personal feeds with Google Reader’s powerful share option allows you to share your own content with others with the click of a mouse button. Sure, you can do something similar with any of the countless social networking aggregators as covered in Identity Crisis, but that solution requires others to stop what they are doing such as reading their feeds and go to your lifestream. The beauty of sharing your content (your voice) via Google Reader is that it keeps everything in one place, making the process of exchanging feeds extremely quick and easy for everyone involved.

For example, if others you know start using Google Reader’s Shared Items as suggested here, then you would see them listed like this under Friends’ Shared items:

The folder called Your Shared Items located above your friends’ shared items is more versatile and useful than most think. It doesn’t just share your own content but also any other content that you feel was worth sharing with the world. The shared item can be a post from another blog or something your friend posted on twitter or a photo they shared on Flickr, a video from Youtube, etc. etc. Think of Your Shared Items like a powerful social bookmarking service like Delicious except that it lives and breathes in your RSS reader!

Note: Please don’t confuse Google Reader’s Shared Items feature with Google’s Shared Stuff service which I will cover in a future post. They are similar sounding creatures but I will show you how different they really are. In the mean time, read your feeds and start sharing the love!

p.s. In case you were wondering, the title of this post and the image at the top is from “Little Shop of Horrors“.
If you are new to RSS and want an excellent video demo of what it is then check this out.

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