I have been looking for some way of collecting and archiving links to keyword or hashtag-based social activity on a WordPress blog for some time. I am sure there are lots of different ways of doing this, but I thought it might be useful to share one way I found on our ‘buzz’ page for the news:rewired event at City University London 14 January 2010. Obviously it will work best with tags that are fairly unique, but there are probably other useful things you could do with this on your beat (let me know if you do!).
The page uses the WordPress Lifestream plugin, which is actually designed to collate a blogger’s personal activity on various social media sites. However, it also has a feature to include a generic feed (under ‘Add a feed’, you will see a list of various sites but also a generic RSS feed logo – that’s the one you want) which can be configured to display an alternative icon to the generic RSS feed one.
So all I needed to do was to obtain RSS feeds of searches of the sites I wanted to include, add a new generic feed for each using the appropriate search result feed and upload and link to the appropriate logos. You can use the icons that come with the Lifestream plugin, create your own, or use some as I did from sites like iconspedia.
Unfortunately, obtaining the RSS feeds I needed was not as straightforward or as obvious as it should have been, so I will go through each one here.
Twitter: This was the easiest feed to find – just go to http://search.twitter.com/ and enter the keyword that you want to search for. When you get the results, look for the “Feed for this query” link at the top of the right-hand column. I searched for #newsrw so my feed url was http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=%23newsrw (the %23 part is # hex encoded).
Delicious: This offers an RSS feed for tags (but not for general search results as far as I know). The format in this case is http://feeds.delicious.com/v2/rss/tag/newsrw?count=15
Flickr: Pictures with particular tags can be found like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/[yourtag]/. A feed icon appears on tag pages, so the URL I wanted is http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne?tags=newsrw&lang=en-us&format=rss_200
AudioBoo: This is the format you need: http://audioboo.fm/tag/[yourtag].rss – in our case http://audioboo.fm/tag/newsrw.rss
YouTube: Format: http://www.youtube.com/rss/tag/[yourtag].rss (so the feed we wanted is http://www.youtube.com/rss/tag/newsrw.rss)
Qik: At the time of writing, we couldn’t find an RSS feed for a search of Qik. Here’s one workaround: search the site for your keyword and make a note of the URL of the search results page (in our case http://qik.com/videos/public_search?query=newsrw). Then go to a site like Feedity to create the page into an RSS feed. It probably won’t work first time, but you can adjust filters to get the results you need. The other problem is that the items in your feed won’t have accurate timestamps, so they won’t appear correctly in your timeline.
Vimeo: Format: http://vimeo.com/tag:[yourtag]/rss (so the feed we wanted is http://vimeo.com/tag:newsrw/rss). One slight problem, at the time of writing Vimeo did not update its feeds in real-time so videos may take a while to appear in your timeline.
Do you know a better way to do this? Or do you think we should include other social media channels other than those listed above? Let us know in the comments please.