Category Archives: aggregated news

The HM Gov channel, brought to you by RSS Mixer

There are a lot of ways RSS and Atom feeds can make a difference to your audience. For me it meant being able to take news releases and display them in Twitter. For others it makes life a little easier, enabling them to get the content they need so users can tell people what they think about  consultation activity.

I find that being able to aggregate UK government feeds (when you can find them) is one of the more attractive aspects of being able to subscribe to content. I can take the content that is relevant to me and then read/watch/listen to what I want, when I want. 

Aside from the fairly ridiculous situation of finding government sites without a feed, the other thing I’ve had some issues with is working out how to aggregate them.

Aggregating feeds the easy way

I’ve been playing around with RSS Mixer over the last couple of days and it looks like it could be a simple and easy to use tool for people that have little or no technical expertise. The process for aggregating feeds is much easier than services like Yahoo pipes or, the slightly complicated way I pulled things together for HM Gov news: Google reader and Twitterfeed.

I pulled together an example that aggregates several government youtube channels (if I’ve missed any, let me know). You can export the aggregated feed into a variety of formats and there’s also a Firefox extension to make collecting your feeds easier.

This isn’t rocket science, which is precisely why I like it. After all, whilst RSS/ATOM may still be an emerging idea for some parts of government, centralising content in one place isn’t.

Happy aggregating.

H/T Jukesie for the heads-up.

Have I got news for you.

Well I would, or rather COI’s news distribution service would, if they enabled RSS on government news releases.

I’ve asked the good folk at OPSI to include this request as part of their public sector unlocking service.

I’m still a bit surprised that central government departments haven’t asked for this to be included before – given many of them already have rss/atom feeds on their departmental sites it would be a logical extension of this capability. Enabling RSS would also provide government sites that are a little behind in providing rss to have at least some capability to distribute their information in a manner that people like to read it.

This really is a no-brainer and should not be difficult to do. It would extend the reach of goverment communications at little or no cost (or it shouldn’t at any rate- although Simon points out in his comments that NDS may have charged over £1000 for this service in the past)

People are interested in what the government has to say; if you would like to see your government news in your rss reader, you can vote for my request here.

Her Majesty’s news, also on friendfeed

I’ve replicated my original twitter project and have aggregated a number of government feeds into a HMGov News friendfeed. Looking at the aggregated product I’m not sure which I prefer – all of the gov feeds in one spot, or something that’s a little less cluttered, like the downing street friendfeed.

The more I use friendfeed the more I like it. I don’t know if it will end up being a twitter replacement but it seems to have it’s merits and dedicated followers who are increasingly championing its potential.

Thanks again to Dennis for telling me to have a look.

Downing Street now on FriendFeed

With the recent downtime in twitter and the arguments around why this has been happening, I thought I would look at friendfeed as an alternative. I have to admit I like what I see, particularly the ability to create a ‘room’ to host conversations – this could be great for ad-hoc consultation activities. I’m still getting the hang of it, but it seems that friendfeed can offer a better ‘lifestream’ of UK Gov activities than shoveling press notices into twitter.

I’ll probably stick to twitter for the moment because the HMGOV feed works for me (when twitter does). Having said that, while I’m exploring friendfeed I’d like to see news I want come to me, so I’ve started aggregating UK Government feeds – I’ll add more as I find the time.

This isn’t an ‘official’ activity – but the content is. If any civil servants want to take ownership of their stream, or can suggest improvements, let me know and I’ll hand it over/do what I can.

Anyway, for now I thought I’d start with one of the more active government players in the social media space: 10 Downing Street is now on friendfeed.