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.