Beta Release: Include RSS Feeds Directly in Your Network's Social Feeds

Following up on our recent release of Twitter Search in Social Feeds, I'm excited to let everyone know that we have added the ability to add RSS feeds to your network's Activity Feed. You might be asking, "How can this help me?" Well, if you have a Wordpress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc., blog for your network, you can now grab that RSS feed and plug it in to your Social Feeds page to have those posts appear in the Activity Feed.

Don't have an external blog? Grab the RSS feed from just about any blog or website that has information you think your members will like. You can add up to three RSS feeds, so don't be stingy with them. Experiment to see what works best for you and your members. This is still a beta feature, so you'll want to head to the Ning Labs section of your Dashboard to enable it. Let us know how you plan on using it or how we might tweak it to make it better.

Want to learn to more RSS feeds? We've got a great intro article right here.


A few ways you might use this

Showcase Important Bloggers

The easiest way to use this is to just pull in blog RSS feeds from a service like Wordpress.org or Wordpress.com. Both work since they both provide RSS feeds. Maybe you run a Harry Potter fan network, and you know that your members all follow the author's personal blog. No question about it -- that blog is relevant for your members and deserves center stage on your network. Pop in the blog's RSS feed and have that be yet another news source for Top News. Maybe you write a separate Wordpress blog for your community? This is new way to integrate it into your Ning Network.
411 News Feeds

Let's say you run a network for paramedics in the tri-state area, and you want to include updates on the latest news from three important public agency websites. Grab the RSS feeds from the three sites and pop them in your Top News feed. They will update according to time stamps, providing your members with up-to-date alerts about fire-related news. You can go even further and rename "Top News" in the Language Editor to something like "Rescue 411". Or, maybe you run a site for film buffs and want to provide up-to-date movie news about the latest releases. You find a great feed from Rotten Tomatoes that reports on movie openings, which is something you know your members pay close attention to -- so why not put that within easy reach in the Top News section?
Pretty Pictures for Inspiration

You run a network for design nerds. You've noticed there are tons of Tumblr feeds that are based on beautiful images your members would probably dig (like this one). Why not create your own "Inspiration" feed from multiple Tumblr image-based feeds? Grab the RSS feeds you want to include and paste them in. If an RSS feed contains an image, they will show up in your Top News feed. Change "Tops News" to "Design Inspiration" or something that fits your new feed.

Tags: new product

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I found another pretty handy use for this. A lot of us have Iframed a job board using Simplyhired. You can pull your job listing RSS updates into your latest activity and get some more attention. Keep in mind that it will only show new job listings unless you add the back-fill for existing listings to the RSS.

I've long had various RSS feeds coming into various groups and on the homepage of Brandergy.com but, with the additional functionality of being able to include RSS feeds directly into our network's social feeds, I'd decided to use my 3 available RSS slots to feed appropriate videos from YouTube based upon the following 3 tags:

1.) #Linkedin

2.) #branding and

3.) #personal_branding

With Brandergy.com (aka MyLinkingPowerForum.ning.com) celebrating its 4th anniversary just yesterday (Mar. 9, 2012), I, for one, am truly happy to see this added functionally for our Ning-based sites...

Thanks, and Keep STRONG, Ning!

+Vincent Wright

Brandergist|Brandergy.com

This still doesn't work on my network. I'm not sure what's wrong.

Just to be clear, the RSS feeds you're pulling in will post an entry to the Activity Feed whenever the RSS feed adds a new item. The RSS items will slide in to your Activity Feed based on the time they were published. As newer activity happens the RSS items will be knocked out, just like any other piece of activity.

I took a look at the RSS feeds you entered and one of them hasn't been updated since July 2011 while the other had a new entry 11 days ago. The item would have been posted at 18:08:02 on Thursday March 1st and then moved down and out as other types of activity happened.

Let me know if I'm not explaining this clearly.

Alex, thank you. That's what I figured, and this is the first time a response cleared that up. I really appreciate that!

I didn't want to choose highly active RSS until I could see how it inserts into the feed, so I chose these slower ones so I could manage the experiment better. Now that this is has been explained, I'll watch more closely.

Troy

Tumblr feeds are working ok with this feature.

I have tried to turn it on thru Ning Labs without success. Is it temporally turned off ? When i click on settings it takes me to the 1st page of my network. tks

A quick update for folks who may be following this discussion. We added two more empty feeds to the social feeds section for Twitter. So, now you can enter up to three (3) Twitter accounts. Hope this will be useful for those who asked for this. 

awesome

i was 1 maybe the 1st 1..infact i think i was

thanks for listening

Hey Eric--I see on my Activity Feed you seem to have found a solution for the two RSS feeds we use--it seems to be working now; and I see you turned "on" the feature?

coloradobirder.ning.com

Re:  Social feeds in Activity stream ... can you make external RSS feeds (RSS URL external to my site) open in new window?

RSS

What's Up With Ning 3.0?

Click here to share your thoughts on what features we should develop next! - Survey will close Friday, 4/25

Projects that the Ning 3.0 Team is currently working on: 

Articles - a new way of organizing longer content pieces. Released 4/16.

Activity Feed Updates - options for more content in the activity feed.

Forum Notifications - ability for members to opt into receiving notifications of new discussions in forums. Released 4/9. 

APIs - The ability to create new members and content programatically.

For more information on what's next, visit the Product Roadmap

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