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When you think of RSS feeds, you likely imagine feed readers and news aggregators. Feed readers are a great way to subscribe to and view content from many sources, but there are other ways to use RSS feeds to your advantage. Below I’ve outlined three interesting ways to use feeds without a feed reader: through updates in Slack, by using IFTTT to send updates to your calendar, and by getting a daily email digest. Read on to learn how to set these up for yourself.
Send RSS feeds to Slack
Slack is a popular group communication app. It features integrations with a number of services like Github, Google Drive, and Twitter, which makes it a nice way to keep everyone from your company or group up-to-date with changes.
If you use Slack, did you know that you can subscribe to RSS feeds through the service? Keep tabs on a company blog or streams from different group members.
To add an RSS feed to your group’s Slack visit #feeds for mine. Updates are fetched periodically.. From there, you can add a feed URL and choose which Slack channel the updates should go to. I created a new channel called
Send RSS feeds to Google Calendar
While you might think that RSS feeds are really only about reading the latest blog posts, I’ve found them very valuable as a tool for logging updates to my calendar.
First with Foursquare - and now with check-ins from Known - for several years I’ve used feeds to record the locations of places I’ve traveled to, restaurants I liked, and events I’ve attended. They’re synced up with my Google Calendar so that I always have a calendar-based record of my locations. I’ve found this to be very useful to find dates for different trips I’ve taken in the past.
I’ve also done something similar with tweets and status updates for many years. Twitter has always made it hard to search your own tweets. By sending tweets and updates to my calendar, I was able to keep a daily diary-type view of updates that I shared.
If you save updates or locations (or anything else) in Known, it’s easy to do something similar with IFTTT and Google Calendar.
First, you’ll want to create an account with IFTTT if you don’t already have one. IFTTT is useful service that lets you tie different platforms together through recipes. Once you’re signed up, you’ll need to create a new recipe. The recipes tie services together through the statement, “if this then that,” where “this” and “that” are triggers and actions.
For your “this” trigger, search and select “feed.” Choose the “new feed item” and input your RSS feed URL. If you’re using Known and want to save locations, your RSS feed URL will follow this format:
If you’re using Known and want to save status updates, you’ll have a feed URL like this:
If you want to save other types of content from Known (or maybe all content that you publish with Known) they’ll follow similar formats. Just add ?_t=rss to your URL.
Once you’ve created your trigger, you need to choose an action. This is where you’ll send updates to Google Calendar. Select “that” and then search for and choose Google Calendar. If you haven’t already authorized Google Calendar with your IFTTT account, you may need to do this as an intermediate step. Next select “quick add event.” You’ll have the opportunity to modify the action text that gets saved to your calendar. You can update this or leave it as is.
Once you create your action, you’ll be asked to give the new recipe a name. Save it, and you’re done. You should start to see updates from your RSS feed appearing on your Google Calendar now.
Create an email digest from RSS feeds
Feed readers are great, but many of us are still glued to our email for frequent updates and notifications. Feed service Bloggtrottr turns RSS feeds into daily email digests to read in your inbox. If you’ve got a handful of sites that regularly post content, this could be a great way to catch up with the latest from the comfort of your email client.
To use Blogtrottr, you’ll need to give the service an RSS feed, your email address, and then choose an email frequency. There are options for daily, every few hours, and realtime. The realtime updates work with sites that support PuSH (which Known does). Basic accounts are free and include ads in the emails, but you can update to a paid plan for more features and customizations.
If you liked this article, you may like my previous post "How to get RSS feeds for your favorite services".