On July 1st 2013, Google Reader became no more. Dwindling numbers of users had preceded the announcement from Google, months before it was turned off, with a majority flocking to Twitter and Facebook to pick up their news “feeds” for a while.
The problem with Google Reader – from experience – was that it was too easy to collect RSS feeds. The more you added to Reader, the more reason you had to ignore the sheer amount of news fed through it. Power-users collected hundreds of feeds and, according to Google, were rarely using the search function, this resulted in an absolute barrage of information. By comparison Twitter appeared hyper-relevant and personal.
The loss of Google Reader does create a problem though, since neither Facebook nor Twitter can really replace a curated RSS feed for relevant and quality information from sites you might rely on for your business.
The frontrunner to fill the gap left by Reader is Feedly (http://www.feedly.com), which you can even sign into using your Google login, automatically pulling across all your feeds and syncing across devices. This is super useful and easy, especially if you just want to keep what you have – but moving to a new reader is the perfect opportunity to do some housekeeping for business feeds.
I’ve found that a great solution is the combination of tools to create specific and personalised business RSS feeds, in particular by using the Yahoo Pipes tool.
When using Yahoo Pipes it is possible to create an RSS feed on a single topic, apply filters – and I mean filter by the most minute details – and then limit the number of articles you want to be pulled through. This creates an RSS URL that can be entered into Feedly. Doing this allows you to create individual, team or sector-based feeds that can be monitored far more easily than before and, perhaps, even more easily than Twitter.
It’s worth mentioning that Yahoo Pipes does have its own reader through MyYahoo, but it’s not very attractive and limits the viewing window size to a 150x150px square.
If you wanted to give setting up your own filtered team RSS feed a go below are instructions of how to go about it. Have a play around with different feeds and filters in Yahoo Pipes and then have a look at how it displays with Feedly, it’s all surprisingly easy:
Log in to Yahoo Pipes. You can do this using your Google ID.
Click Create Pipes. Under Sources select Fetch Feed and enter the RSS URLs you want to follow into the workplace.
Add more urls using the +URL button.
Optional: click Operators, select Filter and then use this to apply any filters you want.
Use the Union tool to connect all your separate feeds into one
Apply a limit to the feed if necessary by adding the Truncate option.
Link this to Pipe Output, click Refresh at the bottom of the screen to see if your feed works and – if it does – then click Save. Select the Pipe you just created under My Pipes and then click “Get as RSS”.
Go to feedly (http://www.feedly.com) and log in using your Google ID. Copy and paste the RSS url into the ‘find feeds bar’ in Feedly, which is opened by clicking the magnifying glass on the right. Add the URL and away you go!
It might take a little while to get to grips with Yahoo Pipes but it’s worth it: in carrying out these steps I created a very refined marketing RSS feed, limiting it daily to only 20 of the freshest stories, delivered – through Feedly – to every device I use. If you don’t feel comfortable using Yahoo Pipes, and only want dedicated feeds of one or two specific sites all you need to do is paste the URLs directly into Feedly.
The main point is that with a bit of time and one exceptionally user-friendly program you will be able to change your internet habits from one of a spectator to that of a collector in no time.