Seems everyone and their dog is rushing to launch an RSS reader service ahead of Google shuttering their Google Reader!
HootSuite is no exception!
If you are not a Hootsuite user, this social media management tool is free to use (with limited features).
Introducing HootSuite Syndicator!
Syndicator is a HootSuite “App” that works with the Chrome version of the HootSuite Hootlet to make it easy to subscribe to sites, read sites, and then tap these same sites as a source of shareable content to your social media followers.
Log into HootSuite and visit the App Directory and you will find the HootSuite Syndicator listed there. It’s easy to install.
Visit the Chrome Store and install the Chrome Extension for HootSuite called Hootlet. Easy done.
Yes, it has to be the Chrome version. No Firefox integration. (grumbles) This is probably because of how it’s hijacking the interface. More on that in a moment.
In HootSuite itself, you now have a new tab to work with, but any existing tab will do.
It’s somewhat obtuse but you add new columns using the “Add a stream” GREEN panel rather than the button, since you need this app tab that is not available in the button.
What’s not mentioned anywhere is that you’re not limited to keeping your RSS feeds in only one tab. So create tabs by topic or tabs by social media profile and segregate your content. Just use this GREEN panel to add app columns for the Syndicator app to any tab you want.
Then, visit any blog you frequent, in Chrome, and single click on the RSS icon on that site. Hootlet will intercept the click and offer you the option to either add the feed to Hootsuite or to open the feed normally. (This is likely why this doesn’t work on Firefox, boo)
Another major downside you may discover is that the Hootlet is helpless if the site does not actually HAVE an RSS icon. With many sites having moved away from adding the icon, the lack of ability to autodiscover the feed is aggravating.
Once you’ve added the app column to Hootsuite, you’ll want to click on the tiny RSS icon at the top of the column to assign an RSS feed to it.
The “Add RSS Subscription” field should be able to take either the root domain or the feed URL but is not consistent. This is probably some launch-day fussiness that will sort itself out.
You can alternately import an RSS backup file (OPML/XML file) that you have exported from any other leading RSS Reader.
In the folder icon to the right of each feed you’ll also find a place to make or manipulate groups of feeds.
You can add each feed to ONE group and then under Actions select “Display Group In Stream” to display all of the feeds, in a group, in the same column.
Within the stream (column) itself you’ll want to be aware of:
Settings – Lets you change the display title of the stream
Filters: Let you search the stream or hide read items or items marked “favorite” or “read later”
Mark All: As Read or Unread
Each item in the feed can easily be marked as:
Star – Favorite
Return Arrow – Share in HootSuite
Checkmark – Mark As Read
Down Arrow – Read Later
And, taken together, you see that the bare basics of an RSS reader – sans reading pane – is now inside HootSuite!
While certainly not a tool that will put a full featured feed reader out of business, this provides an easy way for those who may not normally take advantage of a feed reader to keep some of the benefits close at hand!
TheNextWeb says, “Syndicator is an interesting experiment targeted towards a market that Google Reader never served. It’s a tool that may even play a role in prolonging RSS’ lifespan by putting it in the hands of marketers, but ultimately, it’s not out to battle Digg, Feedly or AOL for the Reader throne.”
Do you use HootSuite for managing Twitter? (I do!)
Have you checked out Syndicator yet? Let me know what you think!
~ Kim ~
Simple Tech Tips For Marketing
PS: If you want to try it all out, don’t forget about the free trial of the Hootsuite Pro account (aff), if you don’t like it, you can cancel it.