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September 05, 2013

Shared Items Might Be Gone, but the LG Stream is Back

Longtime blog readers and social connections know that for years, one of my most fulfilling actions on the Web has been the ability to act as a human filter, passing through hundreds of feeds a day and sharing the best with you, with Google Reader as my workbench, and my shared items being my finished product. With a simple share, followers within Reader, but also those subscribed on FriendFeed, Google Buzz and Twitter, could see my hand-selected picks.

When Google Reader changed its sharing model back in October 2011, not to mention the general demise of most aggregators, this stream came to something of a stop. Reading feeds became a solitary act, and with Reader now retired, one could easily expect the old way of sharing was gone for good. But with a cobbling together of a few products, and thankfully, the continued support for standards like RSS, I was able to reboot the "LG Stream", as friend +Thomas Power has long referred to it, and you can once again subscribe to follow the posts I pick from my journey on the Web, getting a hand-curated selection from the land of tech blogs and beyond. And again, you can follow the stream in your favorite RSS reader or on Twitter.

In a post Google Reader world, here's how it works, and how you can do the same, should you be interested.

First, I, like many others, moved my RSS feeds (via OPML) to Feedly. I've had a more than five year relationship with Feedly and the team behind it, and have found it quite useful, with the same familiar keyboard shortcuts I liked in Reader, and a fast interface.

Feedly Brings My Feeds Through As They Happen

Second, I created a Pocket account to essentially bookmark the top stories I found as they happened. This can be both through the built-in integration Pocket has with Feedly Pro, which I purchased, or through the Chrome Extension. Given I use ChromeOS all day, I've got Pocket a click away all day.

Pocket Captures All My Select Favorite Items

Third, one benefit of Pocket is that it automatically creates an RSS feed for your account. All I had to do was enable the feed to be a public feed to start treating it like any other stream. (Here's how to do it)

Feeding my LG Stream to Twitter is Twitterfeed.

Fourth, I took that RSS feed, and connected it to Twitterfeed, and told Twitterfeed to regularly poll the feed for updates, and push new items to Twitter at my new account, at @lgstream.

Practically the only downside is the non immediacy of posts being shared with Twitter, as Twitterfeed defaults to updating every thirty minutes. This can mean that it sends updates in batches of 2 or 4 or however many new items I've Pocketed in the last half hour, corresponding, typically, with my last sync-up with Feedly. But as with Google Reader's shared items, the delivery of the human filtered stream is there.


For those who don't know my filtering behavior, my goal's not to push any corporate agenda, and my biases are clear. Compared to popular aggregators, I won't be sharing rumors and spy pics and salacious gossip. I especially don't plan on sharing rumors about Google, and confusing everyone who might thing my share implies endorsement or confirmation. That'd be a bad idea, obviously. But what you will find is the top 1% of items that flow through what I see, and what I find interesting - a mix of tech innovation, news, social best practices, and thought leadership. My bias is intrigue and quality. For years, in the Google Reader days, I heard people say they didn't have the time to read through all their feeds, but they always read those I shared.

So we're back, thanks to Feedly, Pocket, FeedBurner and Twitterfeed. You can subscribe to the new LG Stream on RSS or via Twitter. And for those asking about Google+ integration, the service doesn't support feed imports, so there is not yet an equivalent. 

Usual Boring Disclosures: I work at Google on Developer Relations. That may or may not, and probably doesn't impact, any of my comments related to real or perceived competition or partners for any of our products and services.