October 17, 2007

Using Community Server to build your Life Stream

Like a lot of you reading this I have spent a lot of time recently using and working with Twitter, Jaiku, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Community Server(!!) and more social networking applications and platforms.

One of the more interesting features that some of these sites offer is the ability to include external feeds to help aggregate your many online identities. Jaiku offers this and makes it easy to include your Twitter posts (so you only have to make them on Twitter) and announcements/links to your new blog posts. Personally I don't want to junk up my Jaiku presence too much so I stopped after including my new blog posts (from this blog) and my Twitter timeline.

Feedburner also offers interesting options for including things like your Del.icio.us feed, your Flickr feed, and more. I used to include my Del.icio.us feed in this blog's RSS feed via FeedBurner, but I recently removed it.

There are some sites that I use where I would like to display more of my feeds from the scattered web applications that I use. One of those places is Facebook. I'd like Facebook to basically show everything about me and everything that I am involved in. However, currently Facebook only allows you to import one external feed. For me that used to be just this blog. Recently I decided that I wanted to add another blog to my imported Facebook notes and that's when I ran into and realized the limitation.

I decided that I wanted to build a life stream and use that for importing into Facebook. Rather than use yet another web site (YAWS?) like Tumblr, I of course chose Community Server as the platform for doing so (because it ROCKS, because I am a Telligenti, and because I run this site on Community Server).

All that is needed to build your own life stream with Community Server is to take advantage of its built-in blog mirroring functionality. It really couldn't be easier.

  • Create a new blog (mine is "The Complete Dan Hounshell" and no I'm not as conceited as that sounds)
  • I chose to not index posts and to not include it in the site's aggregate because I'm not really interested in the blog itself, I'm mainly only interested in its RSS feed. I don't want duplicate content indexed since some of the posts imported into this new blog will be from other blogs on the site. Additionally, on the "Default Post Settings" tab for the blog itself I disabled comments, disabled rating of posts, and set posts to not show on the site's home page.
  • Next go to the Administration / Blogs / Blogs tab and click on the "Mirrors" button
  • Add the URLs for the blogs and other RSS feeds that you want to include in your life stream. Make sure to check the "Post Full Text" checkbox so that any consuming application gets the full text for each post where it is available.

That is all there is to it. For my life stream I included:

Some others that I forgot about initially and will soon be adding:

  • My Del.icio.us feed
  • My Photo Gallery feed from this site
  • My File Gallery feed from this site

Here are some other applications that provide feeds that I've seen people aggregate:

What other web applications do you use that offer personal RSS feeds that you might want to include in your life stream?

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  1.  avatar Dave Burke says:

    Hey, Dan!  Maybe I'm a little slow, but I've been to your twitter and facebook pages and I'm not seeing your Life Stream feed.  (I like "The Complete" title, btw.)  What am I missing?  Thx.

  2.  avatar says:

    Dave, if you look at my facebook mini feed you will see things like "Dan imported 4 feeds" - the items listed under that are the items that come from my Life Stream feed.

    Maybe I should make it "The Compleate ..." :)

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