Over the weekend, I finally undertook a project I remember discussing with MG Seigler almost a year ago. I built a rudimentary platform to better showcase my linkblog.
Ever since I started doing the old Rizwords podcast I did with Art back in late 2006, the easiest way I found to put together shownotes rapidly was to utilize a combination of Google Reader and Tumblr. With the two combined, I would tag all the articles for the show that day in Reader with the tag “rizwords”, which would then be picked up via RSS to a tumblog and displayed.
Of course, when I came online with Mashable, I started using Google Reader in a much bigger way, and the volume of articles I read on a daily basis provided me with a larger number of posts that I found interesting than I could conceivably write about. Those that I didn’t write up but still wanted to share with my friends, I would share using the built-in function in reader, and then I syndicated that list via Magpie to my personal domain.
As I announced on Saturday, I think I’ve pretty much outgrown MagpieRSS. It’s been a great RSS library that’s served me well over the years, but there’s been a number of limitations with it that I just can’t seem to work around lately, namely it’s inability to read RSS feeds from FriendFeed and Google Reader Shared Items very well.
So What Did I Use for This Version
I essentially used variations on the themes of what I’ve used in the past. Magpie may have had limitations in what sorts of depths into feeds it would read, but that which it could read was very customizable.
- The replacement I chose for it in this version was SimplePie, which does better interpretation of the texts, but reads a much more limited range of XML elements.
- Google Reader Shared Items was still the manner in which I generated the raw RSS / ATOM for the linkblog (a great utility made only better by the ability to add notations to each item).
- To do some minor text correction and clarification, I had to run the feed through Yahoo Pipes to clean up some of the XML element names.
- To allow for discussion (similar to what takes place over at FriendFeed), I implemented a version of Disqus.
After that, almost all the changes to the site I made were cosmetic. You can view them all by looking at the root domain at Rizzn.com, or on the blog pages and back pages, looking on the right hand column under the picture of me.
This Might Cause Controversy
I hope to grow the community here at Rizzn. One of the things I got the most complaints about when I announced that I was leaving FriendFeed was that people would be unable to follow my linkblog.
Of course, anyone can plug in the RSS feed for my linkblog into Google Reader and follow along there (http://feeds.feedburner.com/rizznNewsFeed), but a lot of the community feel is gone at that point. This way, I’ll be able to replicate some of that community feel back over here at Rizzn.com that I’ve had in the past versions of the site and that was present at FriendFeed.
The majority of my regular readers have Disqus, so their entries will show up on whatever lifestreaming services they choose to use, and I’ll have a fair amount of control over what shows up and who can post (so that I won’t have as much of a problem with drive-by griefers like I did over at FriendFeed).
Here’s the controversial part: on the linkblog backpages, full texts of the blog posts exist (in most cases). More on that below
I’ve Taken a Measured Approach Here
In the past, I’ve used some fairly course words to talk about those who essentially steal others content without paying for it and seek to profit from it. In the most recent round of that discussion, I was told outright that I was stupid to seek to pay for content that I could get away with freely taking. From Alexander (SquidLord) in that discussion:
You’re a fool to pay for content AS LONG AS you can get it for free with no repercussions. At the present time, it looks like not only can you, you can do it and dance a happy jig while people shower you in golden wreaths.
While I’m not exactly aiming to be in the same camp as Nick Halstead and the site Fav.or.it, I am taking a page from that (figuratively speaking of course). I’m posting full blog posts that I didn’t write (with a clear disclaimer saying I didn’t write them), and soliciting comments below them.
What I’m doing that’s different is that
- I’m not keeping them on the site for any length of time. Typically, I share enough items that the full blog posts will be pushed out of the RSS feed (where they are pulled from every time a page is viewed) within a maximum of two days.
- Further, I do no PingShots, so the content here in those feeds are very unlikely to get indexed by any search engines.
- Lastly, I do keep a link in every article to the original, so that those who would rather comment at the author’s site can do so.
Bottom line, I’m not doing this for SEO juice, and I’m not looking to steal traffic from the original bloggers. I’m just looking to get conversations started in the context of site, my personal views, and my linkblog, and having the original text provides a much better diving board for starting those discussions.
Have I crossed over to the dark side? Do you think it’s a cool idea? Would you have done things differently? Let me know. This is very experimental, and I’m looking to get feedback.
Personally, I like the idea, and the biggest driving factor behind me spending one of my Saturdays making it was to see how it would be received by the public. Linkblogging has always been good to me, and it’s one of my favorite pasttimes on the Internet… making my site reflect what I do in that arena seems like the next logical step in creating an Internet locale that reflects me.