Using Friendica as a Content Aggregator

Frien­di­ca is a pow­er­ful tool, not only for social net­work­ing; but also for a vari­ety of oth­er pur­pos­es. The usage I would like to dis­cuss today is con­tent aggregation.

There are many ways to aggre­gate con­tent on the web; but Frien­di­ca has some­thing that none of the oth­ers have. Frien­di­ca not only allows you to aggre­gate con­tent; but it also allows you to inte­grate that con­tent with social net­work­ing con­tent from a vari­ety of sources. Gen­er­al­ly aggre­ga­tors only aggre­gate RSS feeds; but Frien­di­ca has been cus­tomized to han­dle a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent kinds of con­tent, not just RSS feeds.

This means you can look at all of the lat­est posts from your favorite web­sites, via their RSS feeds, while also see­ing the lat­est from your social net­works (Frien­di­ca, Twit­ter, Iden­ti­ca, Youtube, Face­book, etc). This is a valu­able tool for effi­cient­ly keep­ing up with the flow of infor­ma­tion from web­sites you fol­low and social net­works that you are part of.

The process of inte­grat­ing the con­tent from web­sites you want to fol­low, is sim­i­lar to how you might add a con­tact to your social net­work. In fact, on Frien­di­ca, the posts from web­sites you fol­low, appear in the same way as post from your social networks.

Gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, as long as a web­site has a decent RSS feed, it can be fol­lowed on Frien­di­ca. The appli­ca­tion is designed to find the RSS feed for the site, sim­ply by past­ing the URL. In sit­u­a­tions where you want a spe­cif­ic RSS feed, or there are more than one RSS feed, you can also add the spe­cif­ic RSS feed you want to follow.

Example: Following a Vimeo Channel on Friendica

Let’s say I want to fol­low Mis­es Roma­nia on my Frien­di­ca account. I would start by going to the chan­nel’s page on Vimeo and copy­ing the URL.

Once I have this URL copied, I go to my con­tacts page on Frien­di­ca. I then paste the address into the Add a New Con­tact box on the top-left, after which I press the con­nect but­ton to add the chan­nel.  This is all I need to do, to fol­low a Vimeo chan­nel.  The same process can also be used for Youtube and most feed-relat­ed web­sites, even many forums, if they are equipped with RSS feeds.

Now that the chan­nel is added, I might want to add it to a group, so I can more eas­i­ly find it and oth­er sites like it (which I will add lat­er).  In this case, I will add it to the Lib­er­tar­i­an group.  I sim­ply find the new site by hov­er­ing over the icons at the bot­tom, until I find the one I’m look­ing for.  Note that the icons can be cus­tomized, in case you want an eas­i­er time find­ing a con­tact visually.

Once I have the site added to the group. I can go to my net­work feed and see the posts from that group, by select­ing the check­box for the group Lib­er­tar­i­an on the left-hand side of the screen. In this exam­ple, the site I just added is the only site in the group, so I will only see posts from Mis­es Brazil.

If you want to con­nect with social net­works like Face­book, Twit­ter, Iden­ti­ca, etc, which require an API key, you will have to install/configure/enable the con­nec­tor for those ser­vices. I will write more about this in a future post. In the mean­time, there is doc­u­men­ta­tion on the Frien­di­ca web­site and oth­er sites, that you should be able to eas­i­ly find in a search engine.

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