How I'm Dealing with the Loss of Google Reader30 Mar 2013
As most of the Internet seems to have noticed, Google has plans to decommission Google Reader this coming July. This has caused quite a flurry of activity around RSS readers in general and there are numerous ideas, cloning projects and the like springing up. My approach to resolving this scenario however is a little different…
A short while before the Google Reader announcement I began to realise that I simply wan’t quite getting the same number of useful links to posts and articles as I had become accustomed to in the previous months. Having focussed on Twitter for the past few years I decided it might be time to return to using Google Reader in order to add to my Twitter curated information and increase my own primary discovery of new and useful content. Great timing not!
For some time now I’ve been using Hootsuite as my goto social media client. There are a number of reasons I like it:
- I can access multiple social media accounts from one place.
- I can schedule posts.
- I can access Hootsuite on multiple platforms (including desktop/web, phone and tablet).
- I can view streams of social content (such as Tweets) in a nice multi-column format (limited on phones).
- It has support for displaying a stream of Tweets based on a Twitter list.
I’m so used to being able to get my news via Hootsuite I began to wonder if it allowed RSS to be fed directly into it? I vaguely remembered seeing a few things relating to RSS in the web client so I took a closer look.
The first thing I took a look at was the Hootsuite RSS add-in application available from the Hootsuite App Directory. This unfortunately failed for me on two counts.
- It isn’t usable whilst SSL for Hootsuite is enabled.
- It isn’t available in the mobile client applications.
I also remembered seeing something in the web client settings about RSS. Investigating a little further it seemed that Hootsuite allows you to pipe RSS directly into a Twitter account to tweet out links. So this had a hint of promise. I didn’t want to arbitrarily tweet out everything from a number of RSS feeds using any of my existing Twitter accounts. Unfortunately I don’t have the funds to have a pro account so I’m limited to five social media accounts, and I’m already at my limit so creating a new account just to post these RSS feeds via Hootsuite was not a viable option
The next step I took was to find a service (other than Hootsuite) that would allow me to take an RSS feed and tie it to a Twitter account created purely for the purpose of tweeting a number of RSS feeds of my choosing. I found several that would allow me to do this, but the one that seemed to offer the best functionality for my uses was TwitterFeed.
The sign up process is pretty standard (I signed up using my Google account to authorise) and the service is free to use. After creating a new Twitter account (on Twitter) specifically for my RSS feeds I added this as an authorised social network into TwitterFeed. Next for each of the RSS feeds I wanted to follow I simply added them into Twitterfeed and set them to push updates out to my new Twitter account. I can now just include a group of RSS feeds into a Twitter list and have that as one of my streams available across all platforms. The tweets aren’t instantaneous, but I have them set to be checked every 30 minutes which for my purposes is good enough.
So that’s my personal solution for the demise of Google Reader. It isn’t perfect as it requires one or more separate Twitter accounts just to push out the RSS and it only checks every thirty minutes rather than pushing out instantly; but they are things that I can work with. It does however consolidate my news feed into a single cross platform solution and that simplicity is really where the strength of this solution lies.
As a final note I feel I should also mention that I had considered using IFTTT and it’s RSS channel to feed into Twitter instead of Twitterfeed. However IFTTT currently only allows the authorisation of one Twitter account (since I already have a Twitter channel set-up this would mean maintaining multiple IFTTT accounts) and I’ve actually found the RSS channel to be less than reliable with some of the feeds I’ve tried in the past with posts sometimes simply not being picked up.