I post to Facebook and Twitter a lot. I mean A LOT. When I run into my Facebook friends in the real world, I’m often asked how many hours per day do I spend on Facebook? The answer may (or may not) surprise you. I spend, ZERO, absolutely zero hours on Facebook each day / month / week. The only time I go onto Facebook is to accept friend requests and check our advertiser and / or developer account at AudioMicro (AM integrates with Facebook).
Question: Then how does my Facebook account get updated 5 times per day (with an average of 4 shared articles and at one status update)?
Answer: RSS, more specifically RSS feeds viewed through Google Reader on my mobile phone with shared RSS items fed into Friendfeed, and distributed to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and just about every other social network on the web.
In 2009, a great deal of discussion has been going on regarding the death of RSS. Proponents of the death of RSS believe that services like Twitter and Friendfeed are replacing RSS. This is certainly true for the Average Internet User (AIU) because the AIU never adopted RSS. Despite its simplicity, the AIU still finds RSS confusing. RSS often requires copying and pasting a feed and or clicking on an orange button that brings up a bunch of text, and the AIU does not know how to utilize this text by copying the feed sources, pasting the into an RSS reader, and using the RSS reader to organize and automatically update feeds from across the web. The idea that one must have another account to login to (their RSS reader) and visit through a web browser is far too complicated for the AIU. The AIU would simply prefer to load up Google, Facebook, or Twitter on their homepage and either search for news (in the case of Google) or be spoon fed news by their friends / followers (as in the case of Facebook and Twitter). This works great for the AIU. RSS is dead to the AIU, but RSS is certainly not dead to more advanced internet users.
But what if you would rather be the one doing the spoon feeding? i.e. The influential user that locates news worthy topics, shares this news, and drives traffic the the publishers that create content. RSS is the answer for this and here is how you do it…
1. Register for a Google Reader Account
2. Subscribe via RSS to the publications of your choice (HINT: Click one of those little orange icons you find on most blogs and web pages)
3. Register for a Friendfeed Account
4. Link you Google Reader Shared items to your Friendfeed Account (HINT: Locate the feed URL for your Google Reader Shared items, and copy and paste this URL into Friendfeed’s Google Shared items feed)
5. Link your Friendfeed stream to both your Twitter and Facebook Accounts (this is really easy to do once you have a Friendfeed account and you can also link to any other social media outlet that you are registered with – e.g. LinkedIn, MySpace, Plaxo, etc.)
6. Now you are set up for one click mobile syndication. Visit your Google Reader account from your mobile phone, iPhone, or web browser, find an article you like, click the “Share” button below any post you see within your Google Reader and this item will be automatically posted to your Facebook and Twitter. If you set things up correctly, it will automatically title your post and shorten the URL’s through http://bit.ly so that you can track how many clicks you get for each item you share.
My Personal Stats:
For every item that I share through Google Reader, I receive an average of 30 clicks. The majority of these clicks come from any one of the 15,000+ twitter followers to the @audiomicro account. A few others come from my Facebook friends and personal @bornryan twitter followers and a couple come from LinkedIn and a few stragglers from MySpace. Pretty much what you would expect in terms of the influential sites where discussions are occurring on the web. In short, I can drive 30 clicks to any article on the web, simply by clicking the “Share” button in my Google Reader account. That’s not bad considering that 30 clicks could sell for $10 or more on Google if you were buying clicks through Google Adwords.
Would you like 30 new hits to your website? If so, just let me know and I’ll share a link for you.