WARNING: This post is about RSS, which is normally a pretty fluffy topic, but this article assumes you have a fairly technical appreciation for how it works.
I recently posted about what I hope is a trend to RSS feed bloggers’ articles into local community based social networks. If done correctly, this is a win-win. Blog article teasers can be automatically sucked in and recorded via RSS, providing a constant stream fresh content to the local social network with no effort other than the setup on the part of anyone, and the readers could be linked back to the original blog for full articles so that the blogger gets the traffic. This is the future and it will happen, and people like me can guide the process by pointing up the glitches. But there were a couple of mysterious things that I couldn’t figure out, (and I am pretty good at figuring things out.) I solved the mystery by talking directly to the people who wrote the software.
It appeared that support was not forthcoming from the locals, despite the fact that I know some of them personally. In the end it turns out that communication channels provided by the software are not optimal. Contact was attempted, but as it was connectionless, it didn’t land and no one knew.
In my original post I had widgetized Hot Dorkage and posted it manually to my community blog. As an end user, there didn’t seem to be any other way to feed my blog into it. This is not ideal, because it’s one degree of separation away. Even though the widget auto-updates, the widget is invoked with static flash embed so it will not boost the freshness rating of the community blog when I publish on Hot Dorkage.
Two days later, I discovered that the community social network was, in fact, automatically sucking in blog post teasers via RSS but not linking back–really frustrating for the visitor who may want to read the original article! I couldn’t remember setting that up nor how I did it, but anything that is done should be undoable so I figured I’d find an add/delete feed button somewhere. However, further poking around didn’t reveal anything.
So I found the “powered by theport.com” link and went to THEIR contact page and they had a toll-free number! Woohoo! Now the only thing is will they talk to an end user. Yes, they would. I talked to a very nice lady named Kyle. I explained my concerns. Her answers were as follows:
- End users can’t currently set up feeds because of spam concerns. Hot Dorkage was attached manually to my community blog a couple days later by a local admin who follows me on twitter and had outside knowledge connecting ME to this blog, but told me about it via a comment on the widget post, which I had no way of knowing I received other than manually checking.
- If I want the whole article text to be sucked in I’d need to alter my feed to do that. Sorry, but NO! People gripe about teaser feeds all the time (from some misplaced sense of entitlement I guess) but hell no I’m not going to give away all my hard work for nothing. If you like the milk come visit the <bleep>ing cow! Otherwise the poor dear just puts out and puts out and gets REALLY LONELY and hungry. Besides when you visit the original blog you see the artwork and the additional plugin stuff as it was intended to be seen. Text-only detracts from the majority of my posts.
- You can at the moment go back in and manually edit the RSS-auto-generated posts in the community blog and link them back to the source. Foo on that! That’s work I shouldn’t have to do. The software should do that.
- Automatic linking back to original blog posts sourced from feeds (IMHO should have been there in the first place DUH!) is scheduled for inclusion in their next major upgrade which will be in a month or two. Well better late than never.