Google Reader

Combine Your YouTube Subscriptions into One Feed with Google Reader

Quick tip: Here's how I successfully created a combined feed from my YouTube subscriptions.

YouTube does not seem to offer a direct export of your subscription feeds as an OPML file that you could import somewhere else, but it does provide RSS feeds for tags and users. See YouTube's RSS feed information.

Here's how you can create a single feed out of multiple tag and user feeds:

  1. Add the tag/user feeds to Google Reader. Example:
    feed://www.youtube.com/rss/tag/yourtag.rss
    

    Note: In the above example, substitute your desired tag for "yourtag".

  2. Assign the feeds to a new folder, like "YouTube Channel".
  3. In your Google Reader account settings, under Folders and Tags, make the folder public.
  4. Click the View Public Page link.
  5. The public page will contain a link to the Atom feed that you can add to any aggregator.

Example

See my example YouTube Channel page to get a feel for what it looks like.

Feedback

If you like this tip or have ways to improve on it, leave a comment to let me know.

Life Hack: Subscribe to Your Own Twitter Favorites to Consolidate an Inbox

Twitter's "Real" Value?

A lot of the value I get out of Twitter is the "microblogging" aspect in which people post a quick link to a useful or meaningful or funny web page. Sure, Twitter can help you stay up to date on those you "follow," but it's also a great data mining tool. In the same way blogs allow you to plug into the brains of interesting people, Twitter allows you a micro version of this technique. In some ways, Twitter has some advantages over blog reading/writing:

  • Twitter limits your post to 140 characters, so you have to be concise. This might (not guaranteed) cause you to keep your message to just the bare essentials--there's no room for fluff!
  • Twitter forces the writer to be concise, so reading a Twitter "micro blog" post is quick and easy.

Time to Consolidate Those Inboxes!

As GTD creator David Allen recommends, I'm constantly striving to consolidate my inboxes (having as many as I need and as few as I can get away with). Rather than subscribe to a ton of email newsletters and clutter that inbox, I prefer to let Google Reader take care of the information I want to keep up with.

Twitter, in effect, is just one more inbox to deal with. It's yet another stream of incoming data that you must process. As with any inbox, an honest evaluation of its value and how it might be consolidated should be made.

The Problem: I Can't Read That Right Now...

If you follow very many people on Twitter, the amount of traffic that streams by your consciousness is mind-boggling. There's not enough time to read all of the "tweets," let alone all of the pages they point to.

The Answer: ...But I Can Save It For Later

As pointed out in a comment by Morten Skogly, you can access the favorites of any user as an RSS feed. This can be useful for really tapping into someone's brain. Instead of hearing all of the noise they put out, you can use them as a filter by monitoring what they value.

Just use the following pattern for an RSS feed of a Twitter user's favorites:
http://www.twitter.com/favorites/username.rss

Substitute the actual name of the user for "username" in the link above.

Taken a step further, you can subscribe to your own favorites using the same technique. This allows you to quickly tag something in Twitter as a favorite, while using Google Reader (or other news aggregator) as your "command center" for all things RSS! So tag your favorite tweets using the star, and it will show up for your later review in Google Reader.

Here Are My Favorites

My Twitter favorites RSS feed can be found here:
http://www.twitter.com/favorites/xagronaut.rss

You can follow my Twitter postings here:
http://www.twitter.com/xagronaut

Feedback

Do you have any life hacks using RSS and Twitter? Let me know! Just leave a comment!

Google Reader bookmarklets (using jQuery)

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I've always been annoyed that Google Reader chops off the names of my RSS feed folders in the left-hand navigation pane. At the very least, they should give you a horizontal scrollbar. And all of these titles with "..." in them to save space are also annoying.

Here's what I did to fix that (requires running the jQuery bookmarklet first):

  • Prerequisite: Append jQuery to current page
  • <a href='javascript:void(function(){$("#sub-tree").css("overflow", "auto");$("#sub-tree-item-0-main").css("width","500px");}());'>GReader Tree Scroll - adds a horizontal scrollbar to the list of folders/feeds.

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Both bookmarklets above use jQuery to make the magic happen, so you'll need to run the "Append jQuery to current page" bookmarklet before you run either of the above bookmarklets.

Tell me what you think!

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