One issue I keep coming across lately is how to save money using social media.
This is a big topic, one that relates to so many others from measuring social media through to monetising it. But every little helps, as they say, and through the miracle of RSS you can make your content work harder by setting up mechanisms that mean you just have to do one thing, and the automation does two more on your behalf, or even three.
Key to this is the marvellous Twitterfeed. This very simple but incredibly useful resource takes any RSS feed and issues a tweet when it’s updated. You need to exercise care in how you use it – you don’t want to inundate people with useless tweets – but if you make sure you prepend different feeds with a small description explaining where each tweet is from, and tell Twitterfeed how often to tweet from each RSS feed and how many times on each occasion, it works.
Some people disagree. They say it’s necessary to customise all content all the time. This is an ideal I guess, but I’ve had pretty good results from just hooking everything up and letting it work. For example, people have said I provide nice links through Twitter, and that’s down to bookmarking for myself but using Twitterfeed to advertise these bookmarks to other people. But if you disagree then tell me – look , you don’t even have to comment, you can vote in the poll below right.
So, if you’re bookmarking, blogging or tweeting, here’s to make them all work off each other:
- Blog and bookmark/tag at the same time. Delicious can post to your blog with a summary of everything you’ve bookmarked/tagged over the past 24 hours, via the Delicious blog posting feature. These are the ‘links for…’ posts you’ll see appear on here most days. The danger with this is that your blog could end up becoming a link-blog – that is, stuffed full of links with very little of your own thoughts in it – but you can still make this useful and informative through the ‘comments’ feature on Delicious, by explaining to someone why it’s useful. Let’s face it, that ‘someone’ is in fact you in about six months’ time when you can’t remember actually tagging it. I think it’s a really cool feature, enabling you not only to increase your library of bookmarks, but to tell people about it through your blog in one go. Heck, Steve Rubel uses it too so it must be cool, right?
- Blog and tweet at the same time. This is how Twitterfeed markets itself. You blog, it tweets. And, of course, this takes the posts generated by Delicious too, so people will see a tweet entitled ‘New post: Links for…‘, and you never know, they might find it interesting.
- Bookmark and tweet at the same time. Although Twitterfeed tells you to feed your blog to Twitter, what it really does is feed any RSS into Twitter. So, take your Delicious feed and plug that into Twitterfeed, give it the prefix ‘Shared’ or ‘Bookmarked’ and every time you bookmark an item, it tweets. This is for each and every bookmark you make as you make it, not just the summary, once-a-day blog post feature on Delicious. You could do the same with the RSS coming out of Google Reader’s shared feature too, maybe prefix that in Twitterfeed with ‘Google’. You could also be selective in what you share, by just taking the RSS from one tag rather than everything you bookmark. I’ve used the tag ‘forblog’, for example, so that I could control what went onto the blog and what did not.
- ‘Like’ things on Friendfeed and tweet at the same time. You’re probably getting the message – yes, if you ‘like’ something in Friendfeed, that creates an RSS feed. So, you can plug that into Twitterfeed too, and prepend it with ‘I like’ or some such thing before the tweet. (btw the example I’ve given doesn’t currently give any results because I haven’t ‘liked’ anything in Friendfeed for a while, but I’m still surprised Twitter search couldn’t find anything.)
- Automatically tweet. This is probably the least ‘tailored content’ approach, but if you’re away from Twitter you can use Twitterfeed to tweet on your behalf completely automatically. I have a ‘Must Read’ RSS feed which comprises only the very best content from people who, over the years, I’ve come to trust to reliably post good, quality content. So, I pluck something from that once a day, prepend it with ‘MustReadFeed’, and out it goes. The counter to the argument that it’s not really tailored content is that, given I’ve made my ‘Must read’ feed available online, what’s wrong with highlighting one part of it? And you could also say I’m tweeting other people’s stuff, but how is that different from retweeting? I’m publicising these people, for free. I probably wouldn’t get much credence for doing just this and nothing else, but as part of the mix of the rest of my activities I think it’s acceptable.
- Do it all with Yammer at the same time. I found out recently that Yammer now takes in RSS feeds, in exactly the same way as Twitterfeed. So you can do all of the above and post into Yammer at the same time.
You can probably do more than this. I know Ping.FM will post to multiple systems so there may be ways to get that to work. Facebook is also opening up more so I’d expect there to be much more content you can share across platforms using RSS. And in fact the more widgets and APIs become available, the more you’ll be able to share everything everywhere.
The more you can do, however, the greater the danger that you’re going to wind up with a load of automated content that is really not suitable in whatever form for whatever audience. You just have to be careful about how you use it. The way I see it, I’m just waving a little flag on each of these systems to alert people when I’ve done something. And if that’s not lifestreaming, I don’t know what is.