Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Facebook feed for the open web

I really don't care that much for Facebook. I don't watch enough movies to take the little quizzes, and I'm not really all that interested in throwing a vampire at my friends, or whatever those weird little applications are supposed to be. I hear that some people use it for professional networking, but most of the pros I know are on LinkedIn, and so am I, and that seems to be sufficient. Not like I have a zillion contacts, but all I really want to know for most of these people is where they live, where they work, and how I can get hold of them if I need to. LinkedIn works brilliantly for that.

I do like the Facebook minifeeds, though. A minifeed, if I understand correctly, is an aggregation of all the things that a Facebook user is doing on Facebook - updating status, adding friends, using applications. For each friend, getting updates on what they're doing moment-by-moment on Facebook is interesting, and the Facebook homepage aggregates all my friends' feeds into a single one and sorts it by time. So when I do log on to Facebook, I can see at a glance what all these people are doing, at least in the last few hours.



Picture by Somewhat Frank

But there's plenty of stuff on the open web that could go into a minifeed just as easily. A lot of sites are making sure they have Facebook applications now, but not every one, and

who wants to rely on a Facebook app for something that isn't really anything more than an RSS feed?

So, I decided to put my own life-feed together. Unfortunately, finding an application that simply turns a bunch of RSS and Atom feeds into one publically available feed turned out to be harder than I expected. If you know of an easy solution, tell me about it - but keep in mind that of the first four feeds I tried to combine, three were sufficiently different to bring down every solution I tried - those are Google Reader shared items, this blog, and my LibraryThing book reviews.

I ended up creating a web page directly rather than creating a feed - I didn't feel like learning all the ins-and-outs of RSS or Atom. So, if you want to follow my life, almost minute by minute, check out this page - or just check out my home page, which has a small iframe in it with that page in it, which is how I intended to use the feed anyway. You can't subscribe to my life just yet, but maybe that will be coming soon!

Along with my feeds mentioned above, the page aggregates Twitter posts, and soon I'll add my Flickr pictures and maybe Delicious , Coastr, or Zelky if they have the feeds in the format I need. I'm looking forward to having my own life feed!

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