Tag Archive for 'yahoo pipes'

Hacking RSS: Filtering & Processing Obscene Amounts of Information at SXSW

My SXSW session this year, Hacking RSS: Filtering & Processing Obscene Amounts of Information, is at the coveted 9:30 am session time on the final day of SXSW, so I thought that it might be a good idea to outline the presentation here in the hopes that I can entice a few people  to drag themselves out of bed early to attend.

Presentation

You can listen to the audio of my presentation.

Description

Information overload is less about having too much information and more about not having the right tools and techniques to filter and process information to find the pieces that are most relevant for you. This presentation will focus on showing you a variety of tips and techniques to get you started down the path of looking at RSS feeds in a completely different light. The default RSS feeds generated by your favorite blog or website are just a starting point waiting to be hacked and manipulated to serve your needs. Most people read RSS feeds, but few people take the time to go one step further to hack on those RSS feeds to find only the most interesting posts. I combine tools like Yahoo Pipes, BackTweets, PostRank and more with some simple API calls to be able to find what I need while automatically discarding the rest. You start with one or more RSS feeds and then feed those results into other services to gather more information that can be used to further filter or process the results. This process is easier than it sounds once you learn a few simple tools and techniques, and no “real” programming experience is required to get started. This session will show you some tips and tricks to get you started down the path of hacking your RSS feeds.

A few specific topics

Logistics

  • Tuesday March 15 at 9:30AM
  • Venue: Austin Convention Center Ballroom C
  • Tag: #hackingRSS

UPDATED to add embedded slides on 3/15/2011 and add audio link on 3/23/2011.

Want to see me talk about RSS Hacking at SXSW?

If you want to see me speak at SXSW, you can comment and vote on my session before 11:59 CDT on Friday, August 27. Here’s how SXSW panel selection is weighted: 30% popular vote (you!), 30% program staff and 40% advisory board, so I’ll need some votes before they will accept my session! Here are the details about my proposed session so you can decide on whether to vote for it.

Hacking RSS: Filtering & Processing Obscene Amounts of Information

Information overload is less about having too much information and more about not having the right tools and techniques to filter and process information to find the pieces that are most relevant for you. This presentation will focus on showing you a variety of tips and techniques to get you started down the path of looking at RSS feeds in a completely different light. The default RSS feeds generated by your favorite blog or website are just a starting point waiting to be hacked and manipulated to serve your needs. Most people read RSS feeds, but few people take the time to go one step further to hack on those RSS feeds to find only the most interesting posts. I combine tools like Yahoo Pipes, BackTweets, PostRank and more with some simple API calls to be able to find what I need while automatically discarding the rest. You start with one or more RSS feeds and then feed those results into other services to gather more information that can be used to further filter or process the results. This process is easier than it sounds once you learn a few simple tools and techniques, and no “real” programming experience is required to get started. This session will show you some tips and tricks to get you started down the path of hacking your RSS feeds.

The Right Mix: Listening and Creating Content

Whether you are managing an online community or a social media program for your organization, having the right mix of listening and creating content is important. Without listening to feedback, you are just creating content in a vacuum without gaining any insights from other people. If you just listen and create nothing, you are all but invisible and aren’t contributing anything to the discussion or even acknowledging that you are listening. The right balance differs for each organization, and it will probably take some time to find the right balance for you and your organization.

Last week, I spoke on this topic as part of a panel session at the Portland Tech America Social Networks & the Enterprise Unite event. I used one slide to summarize my ideas, but I wanted to go into a little more depth here about the topic.

Listening and Creating Content

Listen First

Social media and online communities are all about the people, and people have conversations. They don’t share marketing messages. This means that people from traditional marketing backgrounds need to think a little differently about how they participate in communities by shifting the focus to conversations, and that initial focus should be much more heavily weighted to listening, rather than talking.

Spend some time initially focusing on learning what people are saying about you, your organization, your industry and your competition. By paying attention to these conversations, you can learn so many unexpected ideas.

  • People are probably using your products or services in new and innovative ways that you never intended.
  • People are sharing interesting new ideas about your industry that you can use to improve your personal knowledge or improve some aspect of your organization.
  • Your competition is probably sharing something that you want to know, and it can be worth the effort to see what individual employees at your competitors are saying online.

Listening Tools

One of the big questions is how to set up the right listening posts and filter the information down to something manageable that you can make sense of and process. The tools to monitor conversations range from free to fairly pricey depending on your situation.

  • Free and Easy: I recommend that you start with some free tools that require very little expertise to get a better feel for what you want to monitor. Use TweetDeck or a similar application for realtime monitoring of Twitter, and keep this even if you move to a more robust monitoring solution, since most of the existing solutions don’t do a great job of realtime monitoring. Start with some Twitter searches using advanced operators and set up some Google alerts or Google news / blog searches with RSS feeds. All of this will give you a better feel for the volume of results and some ideas for what you need to filter out of your standard keyword searches. For smaller companies, you might find that this is all you ever need.
  • Free with Knowledge Required:  There are also plenty of free tools or do it yourself approaches that are still free, but they require some time to set up and some specialized knowledge to use. My favorite DIY tool is Yahoo Pipes. If you know how to use it, you can do more advance filtering than you can with the large expensive packages. This requires some time and a bigger learning curve; however, the biggest downside to most of these DIY approaches is that they don’t do a good job of counting results, looking at trends over time or providing pretty charts for your management staff.
  • Paid Tools: The real benefit of these tools is that they are relatively easy to use, they do a good job of counting and charting mentions over time, and many of them provide additional workflow tools to help you manage responses. I have the most experience using Radian6, but there are many other available options. The cost can be worth it for many companies who have complex filtering needs, large volumes of responses, or who want something easy to use.

As a side note, I use Radian6 for monitoring some large volume projects, but I also use TweetDeck for realtime monitoring, and I use Yahoo Pipes to fill in the gaps for specialty monitoring needs. I also have large numbers of RSS feeds that I read regularly.

All of this information can also used as ideas for content, and to be more responsive to your customers or other people who have questions about your organization. You can answer questions or join those conversations, which brings us into creating content.

Creating Content

Creating content in online communities and social media should be so much more than just company messages and press releases. This is an opportunity to show how much your employees know and give them place to showcase their industry expertise where they can talk about industry trends, experiences, ideas and the topics they are passionate about. Writing this type of thought leadership content gets the attention of other people within your industry who link to your content and bring in additional potential customers, which can help improve search engine optimization over the longer term.

Much of this content will probably take the form of blog posts, and it can be daunting for people to have to come up with great content on a regular basis. This is why I recommend that organizations have group blogs where several people with different perspectives all contribute to make sure that one person isn’t bearing the whole load. There are also some tips and tricks for coming up with ideas for blog posts that include writing short posts, reusing other content, reacting to what others are saying, using research, doing interviews, and more.

One of the biggest ways to make sure your content makes an impact is to make it personal. Talk about how you or your job has been impacted by a particular trend or idea. The reality is that people will be reading and responding to whatever you write, and people react more forcefully when they see some kind of personal connection. You want to sound like a real person with thoughts and ideas, and not like a corporate drone.

Getting Started

After the talk someone asked me how she would know when she has done enough listening that she should start to participate and create content. You’ll know when you are ready because you’ll start to feel comfortable listening. You’ll know the language and abbreviations being used and will be eager to jump in. I recommend that you start small and participate gently at first. Start with one forum or one tool (like Twitter), and don’t do too much at first. Follow a couple of people (not hundreds or thousands) and start participating a little. After you really get started, then you’ll need to continue to find the right balance between listening and creating and make sure that you remember to continue to do both.

I did a longer presentation with similar content at WebVisions last year, so you might also find this presentation interesting if you want a little more information.

Two New Yahoo Pipes Classes in December

I will be teaching 2 new Yahoo Pipes classes in December in partnership with the Oregon Training Network. I found that the Monitoring Conversations course was a little too intense with too much information crammed into 2.5 hours, especially for people who are new to Yahoo Pipes. It is a bit overwhelming to go from creating your first Yahoo Pipe to more advanced uses in just a couple of hours, and I would like to have a little more time to devote to the exercises. As a result, I’ve decided to break the classes into a 2 part series held one week apart to give people more time to digest the content. Here are the details:

Basic Introduction to Yahoo Pipes

Abstract

Your customers are talking about you, your competitors are revealing information that you want to know and you need to keep tabs on your industry in the most strategic way possible. Can you find the conversations and information quickly and efficiently now? This Yahoo Pipes training course is designed for people who are new to Yahoo Pipes and want to learn how this tool can give you an edge. In 1.5 hours, we will cover the basics of why online tracking is so important for your business, how to build your first Yahoo Pipe and what are some more advanced uses that can be employed to impress your boss and your clients. This class is ideal for bloggers, public relations and marketing professionals, as well as community and content managers or anyone involved in customer care.

This course will teach you how to create your first Yahoo Pipe. It is a pre-requisite to the Monitoring Conversations Using Yahoo Pipes.

Upcoming Course: December 3, 2009

10:00am – noon
MacForce 100 SE Salmon St. Portland, Or 97214
Early Bird (ends November 20, 2009): $75
Late registration: $100

Visit the Basic Introduction to Yahoo Pipes page for prerequisites, a course outline, and more details.

Register Now

Monitoring Conversations Using Yahoo Pipes

Abstract

Would you like to become more responsive to your customers and quickly know what people are saying about your company and products? This Yahoo Pipes training course is designed for people who are familiar with Yahoo Pipes, but who want to learn more about using it to monitor social media websites and fine-tune techniques. In 2.5 hours, we will also review the basics of building pipes using lists of keywords and filtering to find the content most interesting to you.You should know how to build a basic pipe and have experience using the following modules: fetch feed, filter, and sort and know how to use the debugger to inspect feeds. If you are new to Yahoo Pipes or want a refresher, you should take the Basic Introduction to Yahoo Pipes class first. This class is ideal for bloggers, public relations and marketing professionals, as well as community and content managers or anyone involved in customer care.

Upcoming Class: December 10, 2009

9:00am – noon
MacForce 100 SE Salmon St. Portland, Or 97214
Early Bird (ends December 1, 2009): $125
Late registration: $175

Visit the Monitoring Conversations Using Yahoo Pipes page for prerequisites, a course outline, and more details.

Register Now

Who Should Attend

  • Public relations professionals
  • Marketing managers
  • Brand managers
  • Social media managers
  • Community managers
  • Web Strategists
  • Content managers / bloggers
  • Customer care specialists

Demystifying Social Media Tools and Techniques

On Tuesday, I gave a presentation about Demystifying Social Media Tools and Techniques for the PDXTech4Good group organized as part of NTEN’s 501 Tech Club, so the presentation was targeted to nonprofit organizations. It was about a 30 to 40 minute presentation followed by 2 breakouts:

  • Learn more about the tools (Twitter, etc.) with Crystal Beasley
  • Monitoring social media sites with Dawn Foster

Here are the slides from the first part of the presentation, and you can download the full size version from SlideShare if you want a better copy than the version embedded below.

View more documents from Dawn Foster.

Monitoring Breakout Section

In the monitoring section, I shared some of my favorite tools.

Keeping up with industry news:

  • Find any good RSS reader and populate it with the top blogs from your industry. Netvibes and Google Reader are good choices.

Real time Twitter monitoring:

Find shortened links to your websites when posted on Twitter:

Advanced monitoring on the cheap:

  • Yahoo Pipes: More involved tool, but you can do some very advanced monitoring. I have a bunch of video and written tutorials for getting started with Yahoo Pipes.

Two New Yahoo Pipes Classes for September in Portland

I will be teaching 2 new Yahoo Pipes classes in September. I found that the Monitoring Conversations course was a little too intense with too much information crammed into 2.5 hours, especially for people who are new to Yahoo Pipes. It’s a bit overwhelming to go from creating your first Yahoo Pipe to more advances uses in  just a couple of hours, and I would like to have a little more time to devote to the exercises. As a result, I’ve decided to break the classing into a 2 part series held one week apart to give people more time to digest the content. Here are the details:

Basic Introduction to Yahoo Pipes

Abstract

Your customers are talking about you, your competitors are revealing information that you want to know and you need to keep tabs on your industry in the most strategic way possible. Can you find the conversations and information quickly and efficiently now? This Yahoo Pipes training course is designed for people who are new to Yahoo Pipes and want to learn how this tool can give you an edge. In 1.5 hours, we will cover the basics of why online tracking is so important for your business, how to build your first Yahoo Pipe and what are some more advanced uses that can be employed to impress your boss and your clients. This class is ideal for bloggers, public relations and marketing professionals, as well as community and content managers or anyone involved in customer care.

This course will teach you how to create your first Yahoo Pipe. It is a pre-requisite to the Monitoring Conversations Using Yahoo Pipes.

Upcoming Course: September 23, 2009

9:00am – 10:30am
MacForce 100 SE Salmon St. Portland, Or 97214
Early Bird (ends Sept 16, 2009): $75
Late registration: $100
Visit the Basic Introduction to Yahoo Pipes page for prerequisites, a course outline, and more details.

Register Now

Monitoring Conversations Using Yahoo Pipes

Abstract

Would you like to become more responsive to your customers and quickly know what people are saying about your company and products? This Yahoo Pipes training course is designed for people who are familiar with Yahoo Pipes, but who want to learn more about using it to monitor social media websites and fine-tune techniques. In 2.5 hours, we will also review the basics of building pipes using lists of keywords and filtering to find the content most interesting to you.You should know how to build a basic pipe and have experience using the following modules: fetch feed, filter, and sort and know how to use the debugger to inspect feeds. If you are new to Yahoo Pipes or want a refresher, you should take the Basic Introduction to Yahoo Pipes class first. This class is ideal for bloggers, public relations and marketing professionals, as well as community and content managers or anyone involved in customer care.

Upcoming Class: September 30, 2009

9:00am – 11:30am
MacForce 100 SE Salmon St. Portland, Or 97214
Early Bird (ends Sept 25, 2009): $125
Late registration: $175
Visit the Monitoring Conversations Using Yahoo Pipes page for prerequisites, a course outline, and more details.

Register Now

Who Should Attend

  • Public relations professionals
  • Marketing managers
  • Brand managers
  • Social media managers
  • Community managers
  • Web Strategists
  • Content managers / bloggers
  • Customer care specialists

Using Yahoo Pipes to Filter Results for Iterasi PositivePress

I’ve been beta testing Iterasi’s PositivePress for a while and was excited to finally see it released to the public! It’s a great way to track and archive blog posts and articles from across the web while creating reports with links to certain articles that can be delivered to clients or friends. CNET did a great job of covering the release, so I won’t rehash it here. I encourage you to read the CNET article for more information about PositivePress.

Since PositivePress uses RSS feeds as input, I decided to do a quick video showing you how to use Yahoo Pipes to filter results from your RSS feed to make sure that you are only archiving and reporting on the most relevant results. This video shows you how to take a list of feeds from a CSV file, fetch the results, and filter them for a set of keywords. The end result is fed into PositivePress and a new report is generated from the filtered results.

If you haven’t already watched the rest of the Yahoo Pipes Video series, you might benefit from watching these other videos first. They provide a little more background on the concepts used in this Yahoo Pipe.

This Yahoo Pipes video series is also available as a podcast on iTunes, and as a separate feed.

You can watch the embedded video above, but I recommend downloading the higher resolution Quicktime file (30 MB) to watch. The quality will be much better than the flash version above.

More Details on the Pipe:

  • The Demo Pipe. A copy of the Using Yahoo Pipes with Iterasi PositivePress pipe click “View Source” to see the modules.
  • Fetch CSV Module. Enter the URL of a CSV file. Here is the example we used in the video.
  • Loop module with Fetch Feed. Loops through each element in the CSV file and fetches the feed associated with the item.
  • Filter Module (Permit). Filter by a couple of keywords to permit only the results that match at least one of your keywords
  • Filter Module (Block). Filter out any results that match undesired keywords.
  • Sort Module. Sort by date in descending order to make sure things are sorted in a logical manner.
  • Pipe Output. The final module in every Yahoo Pipe.

I’ve created many Yahoo Pipes, and most of them have been published on my Yahoo Pipes and RSS Hacks page where you can also learn more about my Yahoo Pipes Training courses.

Demystifying Social Media Tools and Techniques

I was in Eugene today to talk to the Willamette Valley AMA about social media. The presentation was similar to the one that I gave earlier this year at WebVisions, but with a few more details on how to use some of the various tools. Here are the topics that I covered and a copy of my slides.

  • Guiding Principles & Strategy for Participation
  • Social Media Activities / Tools
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • LinkedIn
    • FriendFeed
    • Blogging
  • Monitoring
    • RSS
    • Monitoring Twitter
    • Yahoo Pipes
  • Managing your social media efforts

Contact me if you would like to have me train your company on online communities or social media.

Related Fast Wonder blog posts:

Discount on Monitoring Conversations with Yahoo Pipes Class

It isn’t too late to get the early bird rate plus a 20% discount if you want to attend my upcoming Yahoo Pipes class! Early bird pricing ends on June 18th, so register soon for the best price.

Register and get 20% off with this discount code: fw20

This course will help you find out what people are saying about you and your industry across social media websites using Yahoo Pipes. Your customers are talking about you, and your competitors are revealing information that you want to know. Can you find these conversations quickly and efficiently now?

When: Thursday, June 25, 2009 from 5:00pm – 7:30pm
City: Portland, OR
Location: Big Pink Ground Floor Conference Room, 111 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR (no remote attendance)
Learn more: Prerequisites, Course Outline and Information

Costs:

  • Early Bird: $125 ($100 with 20% discount)
  • Late registration: $200
  • Students, freelancers, or unemployed can contact me to attend at a significant discount

Who Should Attend

  • Public relations professionals
  • Marketing managers
  • Brand managers
  • Social media managers
  • Community managers
  • Web Strategists
  • Content managers / bloggers
  • Customer care specialists

Introduction to Yahoo Pipes: Monitoring Conversations – June 25

My next Yahoo Pipes class is scheduled for June 25th. For those who aren’t familiar with Yahoo Pipes, it is a tool that I use to monitor conversations happening across various social media sites. While Yahoo Pipes can also do so much more, I have focused this introductory class on monitoring conversations.

Register for Introduction to Yahoo Pipes: Monitoring Conversations

When: Thursday, June 25, 2009 from 5:00pm – 7:30pm
City: Portland, OR
Location: CubeSpace 622 SE Grand Ave., Portland OR (no remote attendance)
Learn more: Prerequisites, Course Outline and Information

Costs:

  • Early Bird: $124.99
  • Late Registration (After June 18): $199.99
  • Students, Freelancers, or Unemployed can contact me for lower prices [UPDATED 6/5/09 with tweaks to pricing for the class]

Prerequisites

  • You will need to bring a laptop to the training class
  • You must have a Yahoo account (Flickr / Upcoming) and confirm that you can access Pipes with that account
  • You will also need to create a Google Spreadsheet with 5-6 keywords formatted like this prior to the class.
  • No prior knowledge of Yahoo Pipes is required

Why you need this course to learn about Yahoo Pipes

This course will teach you how using Yahoo Pipes can help you understand what people are saying about you, your industry, your competitors and more through smart filtering of blogs, news sources, Twitter, and other online sites. Your customers are talking about you and your competitors are revealing information that you want to know online. Can you find it quickly and efficiently now?

  • Become more responsive to your customers by knowing when and where people are talking about your company and products on blogs and Twitter. Find and respond more quickly and efficiently.
  • Use what people are saying about your company and your products to improve your products / services, marketing messages, web content, documentation and other communications.
  • Get insight into your competitors.
  • Keep up with important information about your industry by focusing on keyword filtering to find the most relevant content for your situation.
  • Use the information to get ideas for blog posts or other communication.
  • Tailor your online research to your specific needs and interest areas.

Visit the Introduction to Yahoo Pipes training page for the course outline and other information about the class.