If you run a website, you want your readers to be able to be notified about new content as soon as you publish it. Rather than coming back to visit your site periodically to see if there is any new content, people are more inclined to consume these updates via an automated feed mechanism.
Traditionally this has been an RSS or Atom feed. You readers add your feed to their favourite RSS reader, and when they refresh their feeds you newly published content will appear in summary form along with a link back to the original content on your site for the reader to click through to. This is still a very important mechanism for any site.
However many people are not using RSS feed readers, but instead:
In this article, I will show you how you can use your existing RSS/Atom site feed to auto-publish to these services, to publish your updates into the social network as widely as possible. While the list of services we will publish to will not be exhaustive, it will cover most of the big networks out there presently:
Graffiti is writing on walls. RSS Graffiti allows you to write on Facebook walls. It is a plug-in for Facebook that consumes RSS feeds and publishes them to targeted walls, be they personal profile walls or Facebook page walls.
The basic flow is as follows:
You can install this plug-in for Facebook from here:
"RSS Graffiti" - http://www.facebook.com/RSS.Graffiti
In many ways, Twitter is becoming the natural successor to RSS. Many have started to argue that it will replace it (see for example "Rest in Peace, RSS" - http://www.techcrunchit.com/2009/05/05/rest-in-peace-rss/). People follow you on Twitter, then when they load up their favourite Twitter client (a huge amount of which are running on handset devices), they are notified of your latest content via a "tweet". There are limitations however:
To work around these limitations, you can use Twitter Feed:
"Twitter Feed" - http://twitterfeed.com/
Twitter Feed will read your RSS feed periodically (again, configurable), and post these updates to your Twitter account via the Twitter API. Twitter Feed will ensure that each tweet is kept within the 140 character limit, which will include the title of your new content, perhaps the first few characters of the content, and then a link to the content. The beauty is that Twitter Feed will use a URL shortener service like "Bit.ly" - http://bit.ly/ to shorten your content URLs to help them fit within the 140 character limit.
The flow is as follows:
While LinkedIn does not accept an RSS feed, it does allow you to connect a Twitter account to your LinkedIn account, which allows you to publish your latest tweets highlighting your new content to your professional network on LinkedIn, complete with the shortened URL to the content on your website.
The flow is as follows:
Sometimes you may want to write something in Twitter that you do not want to appear in LinkedIn. This in not a problem, as you can configure LinkedIn to only read tweets with a special "hash tag" of #in and ignore the rest. You can then configure Twitter Feed to automatically append the #in hash tag to the end of the posts coming from your site's RSS feed, meaning your site content will make it all the way to LinkedIn, but your other tweets will not (unless you manually add the #in to the tweet yourself of course).
I am putting these two together because they have a lot of similarities:
"Technorati.com" - http://technorati.com/
Technorati scores a site based on it's "authority" in certain categories, which you choose when you first submit your site. The authority is based on tags placed on your site, as well as content relevance to selected categories and linking behaviour.
You can find out more about Technorati authority here: "Technorati Authority FAQ" - http://technorati.com/what-is-technorati-authority/
"Digg.com" - http://digg.com/
Digg popularity is based on how many users of Digg vote ("digg") for the content. If your content gets a lot of diggs, it will rank higher up and gain more visibility, with the ultimate aim to get onto the Digg.com homepage.
Once your have all of your publishing services set up, this is how it will look:
Of course you can discover more to add to widen your reach, but this is a good start!
Updated 2022 : note that the above post was originally published in 2010, but is left here for archival purposes. The above services are now out of date, and some of them have actually shutdown. Therefore, I have disabled all of the links.