RSS: we can all be aggregators now

I’ve been using Google Reader for a while over a year now. From my stats, I see that I’ve read about 800 items over the last month. But that number’s not the point: I’m running about 80 tags, to classify all this stuff. For some while, I’ve been looking for opportunities to promote these piles of items as a resource. Not so much because I think my eye for material is eagle-like, more that it’s just a worked example of potential.

Untill recently though, the facilities haven’t really been available. In the reader, you can star or ‘share‘ items, and this makes all these publicly available (if you tell people where to get them – as I have just done above) in a guddle together. And it was good for not much more than a one-off opportunistic visit. But what I wanted was to be able to offer a more focused feed of items on a  particular topic, as that’s what I felt would be more useful to people.

And someone up there (at Google) has quietly fixed things (or at least that’s what it seems like). I now have the capability to provide others with a feed from my tagging activity, direct, with no overheads to either party other than the sharing of the relevant URL – in this example a stream of items I tag as ‘Identity‘ (a topic I’m interested in) – by the ‘author’ (me) – and the act of subscription to that by the recipient (you, assuming you indulge in this sort of thing). The feed URL already quoted just above can be picked up manually from the ‘public page’ containing the items I’ve tagged with the ‘Identity’ label. If you just wanted a one-off look, you could pick up the public page URL.

So if person A decides that person B is making a pretty good job of spotting and tagging on topic N, they can now think “why keep a dog & bark yourself?”, and can simply subscribe to person B’s feed of N-tagged items, to keep up to date. Across a team or network, there might be some potential for reciprocity, with person B taking a feed of A’s horizon-scanning of topic T. Or both parties might take a feed from C on topic Z. All this instead of A, B, And C, trying individually to keep tags on topics N, T and Z. Though it wouldn’t stop them from a certain amount of joint effort?

In this particular case, here am I listening in on the thought-leading community associated with digital identity and its management, as they think aloud as they go along, and anyone else who is prepared to trust my judgement on what I tag, sources I uncover, etc etc. can slipstream behind me, using my ‘attention data‘ (as I believe the saying goes) to save time in their own horizon-scanning. One can imagine sharing this sort of activity across networks of interest, to create quite powerful collective knowledge of ‘what’s going on’.

And a further interesting (to me anyway) aspect is that this works at the level of personal practice. All you need is a good Reader.

Hurray hurrah. Well done Google!

What are other Readers like in this regard?


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November 2008
« Oct   Mar »

Twitterstream – well, damp patch anyway

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