May 17, 2009

Distributing Content Via RSS: Kindle Blogs, Twitterfeed, MoFuse Mobile

Get Your Blog on Kindle Using RSS!

Periodic claims that RSS is dead will continue to appear from those on the cutting edge since, hey, they don't use it anymore, but RSS remains a primary tool for distributing content via multiple platforms from the web to mobile devices to Amazon's Kindle.

One of the cool things about blogging is that blogging software usually produces an RSS or Atom feed that some folks may subscribe to using a feedreader, which Business Wire explains to those new to the idea and Steve Gillmor derides with an obituary because he's too cutting edge for that sort of thing.

Actually, Gillmor is focused entirely on his personal use of RSS in a feedreader to keep up with breaking news as opposed to Twitter without considering that RSS may well be much more widely used to power widgets and to distribute content on various platforms beyond feedreaders and widgets.

Here are three ways I distribute content from my blogs and blog-powered sites that use RSS feeds to get that content out there.

Kindle: Blog Subscriptions

Amazon's Kindle, pictured above, has previously offered select blogs by subscription but just this week opened Kindle Publishing for Blogs as a self service platform. Earlier today I set up Kindle subscription options for ProHipHop and for Hip Hop Press.

The service basically requires an RSS feed and not much else but the preview shots of my blogs using the publisher's dashboard make it clear that it's very text oriented and I assume video's not a near-term possibility. Actually, I may start a feed that leaves out the music video posts that don't have additional text because they won't be functional on Kindle or a variety of other platforms and I don't like leaving people frustrated.

I think it's unlikely that my particular blogs will make any real money on Kindle, though I'll celebrate if they do, and I'm betting that direct subscriptions to RSS feeds will have to happen sooner or later.  But, till then, I just want to have a presence there and see what happens. You can't learn about a platform without being on it and, again, the cool thing about having RSS is that I can get on Kindle easily and learn some things in the process.

Twitterfeed: Headlines on Twitter

I've been using Twitterfeed to distribute headlines with links to my blog posts on Twitter and I've been very happy with that service. I'm a little puzzled as to why Twitter doesn't have RSS feed subscription built in but they've got their own agenda and we'll see what we see when we see it!

Twitterfeed's free and it seems to work pretty well though I have to admit that I haven't been monitoring the Twitter feeds themselves so I may be missing problems entirely.  Not monitoring one's output is not a good thing to do so don't do that!

The biggest drawback for high volume publishers is that Twitterfeed maxes out at 5 posts per half hour. Actually, that's fine for my blogging at ProHipHop but not for my press release distribution at Hip Hop Press. I find myself having to hold back releases from time to time or getting jammed up before my midnight deadline when I'm running late. Other than that, Twitterfeed's pretty cool.

I'm also getting enough subscribers at and at that I feel it's a worthwhile offering, though Twitter is really about the public exchange of text messages with social network components.  Nevertheless, it's up to the users to decide and providing my feeds has resulted in more subscribers than I expected.

MoFuse: Mobile Website

I maintain a full-feed mobile presence at for the combined might of ProHipHop, Hip Hop Press and Weekly Hip Hop Albums via MoFuse and I have to say I'm really happy with these guys as well.

The most useful parts of the service are free and I think they may have miscalculated on the mix. I think they should have charged for allowing you to use your own domain, for example, so I'm hoping those choices won't undermine their business. I, for one, would be willing to pay a small annual fee for what I get though, given the relatively minimal mobile traffic I receive, there's a strong limit on what I'd pay.

That said, Mofuse is the best option I've seen for getting one's blog or other RSS enabled content on a mobile platform that can access the web. The stats are slow loading on the backend but, other than that, the performance has been really solid for me.

"But I'm not dead yet!" [Monty Python]

People say stuff like RSS is dead all the time and it's usually not true. So far, I'm finding more uses for RSS, rather than less, including providing updates on Twitter which may even be ironic given that Steve Gillmor bases his attack on RSS on his use of Twitter!

Remember when CD's killed vinyl LP's? Did you know we're in the midst of a vinyl resurgence even as CD sales drop?

Don't let the pundits' one-liners or the use of such one-liners by pundit parrots in business meetings stop you from checking things out for yourself. Absolute statements are rarely correct. Mind the gap!



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