Tag Archives: backtweets

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.


You can listen to the audio of my presentation.


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


  • 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.

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.