Last week I fielded two questions from a prospective Social Actions
partner (CitizenEffect.org, well worth checking them out) that I had
trouble answering. Posting them here for insights from any and all who
can help. Thanks!
(1) What's involved technically in creating an RSS feed
-- How much time should it take and why should it take that long?
-- How complicated is it, technically?
-- If you're with a group that created an RSS feed for your actions
(to participate in the Social Actions API for example) did you do it
in-source or out-source that work?
(2) How can #takeaction tweets and action sources' RSS feed content be
phrased to be the most relevant search results when someone's
searching the Social Actions API (i.e. SEO strategy for
To create an RSS feed, you typically take one kind of content (a
database, text files, the contents of other RSS feeds, etc) and
rewrite it into the RSS XML format. If the content you are wanting to
publish is in a difficult format, has complex rules, or other
headaches then that is the source of difficulty. Otherwise, it
shouldn't take more than a few hours to create a single RSS feed from
existing structured content. Of course, a lot of sites have greater
needs than that - a feed per URL, per category, logic to publish
different kind of content in different ways. In other words 'it
depends!' but to get your foot in the RSS door, probably a few hours
of technical planning and a few hours of coding.
Creating an RSS feed is low on the complicated scale, in my opinion.
It's a great task for someone learning a programming language or
learning a project. Most languages have 'helper' methods and classes
for creating XML and/or RSS content.
> (2) How can #takeaction tweets and action sources' RSS feed content be
> phrased to be the most relevant search results when someone's
> searching the Social Actions API (i.e. SEO strategy for
So tweets are going into Social Actions and then coming out of the
API? Or actions are being turned into Tweets? SEO is a large topic
that I don't know much about, but for the latter I would recommend
some technique to condense an action into a few terms which are most
relevant to that specific action using something like TFIDF (which I
learned of recently) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tf%E2%80%93idf
About the tweets, the Social Actions API picks up any tweet that
includes #takeaction (and any takeaction Delicious tag too, btw). It
isn't broadly known -- only 164 #takeaction tweets in the last month
-- but that's why Twitter and Delicious are listed as Action Sources
on our profile page --
Thanks for the tf–idf link. My inner math geek is very happy :)