07 RSS Lab exercises

Your goal today is to find feeds for your term project. First, finish the exercises from last class. There's a couple more general things that I want you to do after you finish those exercises but before you start today's activities.

A point that I might not have made clear the other day: When you are searching for blogs, you're going to come across both blogs and blog entries in the results. Sometimes the blog that you find is exactly on target, and is almost exclusively about your topic. Lovely; you'll definitely want to subscribe to that blog. Other times the blog entry is one of only a few from that site that seem to be about your topic; you can see that it contains useful information, but only some of it will ever be about your topic. In this instance, I encourage you to note this blog entry on a page in your wiki. We will later learn how to filter RSS results from specific sites based on keyword search. Until that time, you need to make sure you don't lose those sites that might be useful in this way.

If you use bloglines as your RSS reader, you should be sure to work through how-to-share-a-bloglines-blogroll.

  1. Use the tools in Technorati (and other searchable feed databases — see bottom of page) to easily find more popular blogs that you might want to add to your feed list.

Exporting and importing lists of feeds

After you have subscribed to a few feeds, I want you to work through the process of exporting your links and then importing them into another feed reader. From your chosen RSS reader, look for the option to "export" your subscriptions. Save it to a file. Then go to a different RSS reader and look for the option to "import" subscriptions. Do it.

The ability to export and import sets of subscriptions means that you are not tied to a RSS reader, even after you have built up a significant set of subscriptions.

Do some research on your term project

Use BlogPulse

Blogpulse has some really powerful tools that can give you insight into what's going on in the blogosphere.

  • Look around this site.
  • Do some searches on your term project.
  • Be sure to explore the "Advanced", "Trend", "URL", and "Conversation Tracker" tools in their search box.

Use Technorati

Technorati also has tools that help you keep up-to-date with trends in blogging and the news.

  • Be sure to explore (in the toolbar) "Channels", "Blogs", "Popular", and some of the stuff under "Blogger Central" (especially "State of the Blogosphere").
  • Look at the "Watchlist" tool under "Favorites". This would be useful for keeping track of your term project topic.

Use Bloglines

Bloglines has an extensive database and a pretty good search tool.

  • The advanced search form has lots of options. Try it out.
  • Notice that you can search for Posts or Feeds, and you can include news-based feeds or exclude them.
  • Also look into the effects of the "Sort by" option.
  • The Bloglines Top 1000 is also a useful list to look through when you have some time.

Use IceRocket

IceRocket has some tools that can help you keep track of real time information. We'll do more on this in a future class, but you can begin to get a feel here.

  • Do a search here on blogs.
  • Look through the results.
  • Then click on "Big Buzz" tab and investigate what this page tells you.
  • Be sure to try out their advanced search page.

Use Google Blog Search

Of course we had to use Google Blog Search. But I wanted to be sure that you didn't miss all of the other tools that are out there because I think GoogBlog has lagged a bit here (though the search engine itself is strong enough).


Searchable RSS feed databases

  1. Bloglines Search
  2. Technorati
  3. Google Blog Search
  4. IceRocket
  5. Blogpulse
  6. NewsIsFree
  7. Blogs.com
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