Think differently about RSS and its uses http://www.croncast.com/resized-images/none.jpg   Released: 2009-04-24 09:18:54 http://www.croncast.com/article/1950/Think-differently-about-RSS-and-its-uses/

It's been quite a while since I wrote a blog post and it was time to get down with the reality that some things can't be said in 140 characters or less.

Over the weekend, as some of you may of you noticed, I live photo blogged my Saturday afternoon date with Betsy and our trip to Goodwill. For me it was a time to watch Betsy as she navigated her adopted habitat and to see her operate in a way that is far from the norm in our everyday lives.

I knew this was going to be an interesting experience. Why not share it in as many ways as possible (distribution to: Flickr, Twitter, blog and RSS) with as many people as possible? One input with multiple outputs across the various Croncast audiences.

Making it happen is a lot easier than you think with email and RSS.

First. it is the camera phone that takes decent photos. Second, is the phones ability to send email with photo attachments. Third, is a place to email the photos that has an RSS feed or other API connectivity to other applications. Tons of sites like Flickr, Seesmic and Tumblr offer these and can even do some of the distribution for you. Get these three things in place and sharing your experiences in near real-time has never been easier.

Currently, it does take a little more skill to distribute the photos to Twitter. However, if you get creative you can breathe life into photos that wouldn't normally have existed after it was consumed/viewed in a photo sharing site or through an RSS reader. It is worth the effort to figure this out, it's the next stage of content distribution online.

How do I know? Google Reader shared feeds are the perfect example. Typically once someone reads a post in their reader it has reached the end of the line. But if someone shares it with Google Reader it then gets added to the individual users shared RSS feed and resyndicated. A new life for that content. The same goes for photos that end up in Flickr or a Flickr RSS feed.

In my case, live photo blogging and my ability to cast a wider net wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for the Flickr RSS feed from my account. It is the magic API that feeds (pun intended) the river of resyndication that allows me to give that new life to our content.

Here's how it goes down:

1. Upload photo from phone to Flickr with subject line used as image title
2. In the body under the photo begin with an asterisk (*) if I want the photo, title and description to be a blog post also
3. In the body under the photo begin with a carat (^) if I want the title and a link to be a tweet
4. Add both asterisk and carat (*^) for blog and twitter
5. A PHP script grabs the Flickr RSS feed and reads it for asterisks and carats every two minutes and sends the photo, title and description where it needs to go
6. If it goes to the blog the title and description will be run through a keyword generations script
7. If it goes to Twitter only the title is sent and a shortened url is created to link to the photo

What all of this does is allow me to create multiple channels of distribution that can reach the different audiences that follow us. There is a bit of overlap with multiple audience members subscribed to the same services but quite a few are not. We have the Twitter audience, the blog audience, the flickr audience and the RSS audience. We also have our podcast audience but they are not really a part of this type of delivery

Summary: Look for ways to utilize sites like Flickr as a content management portal, if even from your mobile phone, to cast a wider net across your network. Work to find that one point of contact that has the lowest threshold for allowing you to get your media and thoughts online with the ability to resyndicate your content without having to lift a finger. Well, too many fingers. And make sure that it has an RSS feed!

flickr live photo blogging RSS as API seesmic tumblr twitter

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