Over the years I’ve struggled with how I could provide links to news, tips, and other information that I come across related to what I cover on this blog. In some cases I merely want to share, but in others I may want to add a little commentary or create a mini-post around the link.
I run this site on WordPress and initially was considering using the Press This feature to create posts for a single category and then create a page to just display posts from that category. But then I also had a challenge as to how to display these newsbites on my home page and incorporate them into my RSS feed without burying my long form posts. In the end I kept it simple and just continued to use Delicious to bookmark the pages and use an RSS widget to display them in my sidebar. The bummer being that I don’t have a dedicated page and these posts don’t make their way into the blog database / archive.
Last year I reviewed Rebelmouse which is a great service that can be used as a Lifestreaming aggregator. The services continues to evolve quickly and they are continually adding features. I’ve continued to use it and like many of the new features they’ve been adding. I’ve decided to use Rebelmouse to power my new curated news page. Here are some of the reasons I chose why to use Rebelmouse.
Integrates well with my current workflow
I was able to create a separate dedicated page for Lifestream Blog in addition to my personal page. I then was able to uniquely define what content would power this page. I provided my existing RSS feed from Delicious (Yes I still use it & they’ve updated it recently) that I use to save these stories with and they create the entries for my page. As a huge added bonus it parses the title, my comments, and tags into the entries it imports. I can then tie logic to the tags to populate separate tabs on my page.
Some other nice features
You have the ability to share your posts to a Rebelmouse page that prominently displays the item which can then be reshared or have the post closed to display your full page. In addition to that you can edit your commentary which also allows you to add links and formatting. You can view both of those examples on this post of mine. Posts can also be manually re-arranged on the page and even frozen to a location. I can supplement the feed items by easily adding items manually by pasting a link or using their interface to create posts of my own on their service.
Another key reason why I chose Rebelmouse is that it offers a very clean embed of my home page which I can then integrate into my website. You can see what I’ve done on my curated news page. Unfortunately the embed doesn’t offer my additional site tabs and there’s no way to remove the widget for other user pages but hopefully they will offer more options for embedding in the future. They also offer a WordPress module but I didn’t find it flexible enough.
Rebelmouse has many other features beyond these that I’m detailing for my curated news page. I read this recent interview with their CEO and they have some great plans for updates ahead. If you haven’t checked out the service you really should.