30 Sep 2009

Don't Slouch At The Dinner Table

Google Reader has Like and Share features built in that let me do more than simply read posts.  The Like and Share features allow me to tell others about interesting things I find on the internet.  I use these two features quite a bit...
I think the Like feature is a bit of a dead-end organizational feature at the moment - whatever is Liked is categorized into an unshared pile of posts that are marked "Liked", and it's actually a bit useless on its own (at the moment anyway).  I use it anyway, though - partly because I'm a freak about Google products, partly because it can be a useful organizational tool to quickly access posts that I found most interesting, and partly because of the feature's potential (should Google decide to add to it).

So, if I really enjoy a post, I'll use the Like feature as well as the Share feature.  The Share feature categorizes the post into an RSS feed of its own that is shared based on certain settings.  I've got it configured so that everything I Share is open for anyone to read right here.  Plus, it's really easy for me, because I'm right there reading the post that I enjoy where I can also click a single button to share it (or click a single button & type some text if I want to comment on it as well).  The action of sharing becomes an almost passive action; being able to share right from where I'm reading without taking extra steps or going away from the reading page makes it easy and enjoyable.  (StumbleUpon does a great job at ease-of-use, as well, but I'll be talking more about that in other posts.)

I don't care for that direct Google Reader shared items feed, though.  It's all alone; it's another place; it's yet another neighborhood (more on the idea of Many Places At Once / Many Neighborhoods in another post).  So, yeah, sure, it's great for other Google Reader users, but what about the people on my blog, or the people on Twitter, or the people on FriendFeed?  I have to do a little setup work to get those things running smoothly...

If you haven't checked it out yet, go have a look at my Lifestream (essentially my own personal FriendFeed).  This is a collection of posts from nearly every online presence that I have, and it takes absolutely zero effort to produce.  Both FriendFeed and my Lifestream are automatically updated whenever I Share something from Google Reader, no more complicated than that.

The leftover part, however, is getting my shared Google Reader posts into Twitter.  For that, I use TwitterFeed which subscribes to my Google Reader Shared Items feed and automatically post Shares.  Since Twitter limits posts to 140 characters, TwitterFeed shortens the URL that's shared with bit.ly (but only because it doesn't support Su.pr) - but that's getting a bit ahead of myself, so I'll write more on URL shorteners and the great service that is Su.pr in other posts...

That brings it full circle - I can post directly to my Lifestream and Twitter simply by reading posts via Google Reader and clicking a single button for the things that interest me.  This is the easiest method that I've found to share interesting posts that are always relevant.


bit.ly friendfeed google google-reader lifestream neighborhood rss su.pr twitter twitterfeed url-shortener

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