Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sharing Google Reader items to specific FriendFeed rooms

Empoprise-BI is one of four blogs that appears under the "Empoprises" banner. Empoprises itself is supposed to consist of a set of different "vertical information services" targeted to specific topics. For example, if you want to know my astoundingly insightful views on business, but don't want to know my equally astoundingly insightful views on music, you would read the Empoprise-BI blog and not read the Empoprise-MU blog.

In some respects, this separation of the vertical information services extends to other Empoprises properties. One pertinent example is on FriendFeed. While I have a main FriendFeed account,, I have also set up separate FriendFeed groups that are associated with each of the four topics - for example, and While I'm still working on building these groups up, the intent is to establish these as specific areas to talk about the topic at hand.

Until today, there was one problem with this plan. Anything that I shared from Google Reader wasn't directed to the specific rooms, but to my main FriendFeed account.

Now I could certainly manually share things in each group, and each of the groups has feeds that populate them, but if I run across something in Google Reader, I have no way to share it directly to the pertinent group.

I mentioned this issue in a comment to the Rob Diana post I Am Your Filter. Before I get to my comment, however, here's an excerpt of what Rob says about Google Reader:

Basically, I share these items so that you do not have to find them. If you want a summary of what the “major tech blogs” wrote in the past 24 hours, you could look at my shares and see good opinions or who even wrote about it first. If you want to dabble or just learn the terminology in data mining or the semantic web, you could view my shares. You may not see a lot of content in those areas, but I am sharing a lot of information every day.

So you can see that Rob shares tech items. In my case, however, I share items from disparate topics. Here's my comment:

Most of my Google Reader subscriptions are related to the four categories where I am focusing my attentions: business, music, the Inland Empire of California, and NTN Buzztime. All of my Google Reader shares dump into a single FriendFeed account, and perhaps I can improve on that in some way. (I do have four separate FriendFeed rooms, one per topic; perhaps I can figure out a way to automatically redirect the items to the appropriate room.)

Rob provided this helpful reply:

I am not sure if changing your sharing to multiple accounts would help. You may be able to tag your shares in Google Reader, and then create separate feeds for each tag.

So I experimented. Rob's post itself was still in my starred items, so I created a new tag, "shared-business," and applied it to the item. In then went into my Google Reader settings and made my "shared-business" items public. (I have over a dozen folders/tags that I use in Google Reader, and before today, only the "Shared Items" were public.) This not only created a viewable list of the shared business items, but also created an atom feed which I was able to add to the feeds in my Empoprise-BI room. As a result, you can now see this item in the room.

With the creation of this tag, I now have additional destinations for every item that I read in Google Reader.

In essence, I can create any tag that I want, make the tag public, grab the atom feed, and use that feed in any way that I choose. I've already set up "shared-ie" and "shared-music" tags for my Empoprise-IE and Empoprise-MU FriendFeed groups, and I can continue to feed any of my rooms with items that I find via Google Reader.

WITH ONE EXCEPTION. It turns out that mobile Google Reader, which I use on my older smartphone, does not have the "add tags" capability necessary to direct a post to one of my public feeds such as the "shared-business" feed. So in that case, I have to star the item and direct it to a public feed later, when I'm at a computer.

But it's still better than manually sharing stuff.
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