Publishing a blog with nothing more than Google Reader

Update: I abandoned this. It works, but so messy.

Summary: By sharing items in Google Reader, you can publish to your blog and four other outlets, in this order, with one action:

  1. Shared Items in Google Reader
  2. Buzz
  3. Twitter
  4. Your blog
  5. Facebook

You will need:

  1. An independently hosted blog running on WordPress.
  2. Of course: Twitter, Facebook and a Google account (with Buzz activated).
  3. Wordbook addon for WordPress.
  4. Twitter Tools addon for WordPress
  5. Advanced Category Excluder addon for WordPress (this is optional, but I use it to avoid cluttering my blog’s home page with poorly formatted blog posts).
  6. Recommended Reading addon for WordPress.
  7. BuzzCanTweet connected to your Twitter account.

Steps:

  1. Set up your Google, Twitter and Facebook accounts.
  2. Create a “Shared Items” category for your blog.
  3. Activate and set up the Recommended Reading addon.
  4. Set up a “Shared Items” static page on your blog. Add the Recommended Reading shortcode of (leftbracket)recreading(rightbracket) (with brackets around it, as indicated). This will cause this page to pull in a list of your shared items on Google Reader.
  5. In your Google Buzz settings, make sure the connected sites include Twitter and Google Reader.
  6. In the settings tab and Goodies sub tab of your Google Reader page, grab the bookmarklet and drag it into your bookmarks bar. This allows you to easily share any Web page in Google Reader. This is optional, but useful when surfing.
  7. For Twitter/Buzz integration to work properly, you need to make your Google profile into a username URL. To do this, go to your profile editing page, and scroll down to the “Profile URL” section. Follow the instructions there. Warning: This can cause your Gmail address to become publicly available. If this is a concern, go ahead (after connecting to BuzzCanTweet) and change it back to a numerical profile URL after you have completed the integration of Buzz Can Tweet with your Twitter account. I don’t know if a username URL’s brief existence will cause privacy problems later. I suppose that’s a risk you’ll have to take.
  8. Go ahead and connect your Buzz account to your Twitter account by going to BuzzCanTweet and clicking Get Started.
  9. Set up Wordbook in your WordPress blog to publish posts to your wall.
  10. Set up Twitter Tools in your WordPress blog. Important: You must enable “Create a blog post from each of your Tweets.” Assign the “Shared Items” category to these tweets by choosing it from the dropdown to the right of “category for tweet posts.” The rest of the options are optional and unrelated to the topic of this post.
  11. Set up the Automatic Category Excluder, if you want, to exclude the “Shared Items” category from your home page. I do this because, unfortunately, blog posts created from tweets look horrific. The headlines are cut off, the summaries are truncated…but the link is there, and so is, if you write succinctly, the gist.
  12. Important to remember: Your tweets will run entirely off, I think, the notes field in Google Reader, if you fill it in. (If you don’t, it grabs headline, then notes. I posted pictures at bottom of this post of a shared item format, and the result in different outlets.) And your auto-made blog posts run off your tweets. And your Facebook updates run off your auto-generated blog posts.  Result: What you write in the Google Reader summary field is absolutely key to how it appears on Twitter AND your blog AND Facebook. In Buzz and Reader, the shared items appear as you would expect when sharing from Reader. This is why I set aside my Shared Items to a specific page.
  13. Start sharing using Google Reader.

So this is the big-picture view of what happens:

  1. Share something using Google Reader (either in Google Reader itself, or by using the bookmarklet).
  2. That item gets sent to Buzz.
  3. Buzz, via BuzzCanTweet, sends the item to Twitter. It pulls info from the notes field for headline and summary, and the link provided goes back to your individual buzz post.
  4. The tweet then gets sent to your blog as a blog post, published in the “shared items” category,  using Twitter Tools.
  5. Wordbook then publishes that blog post to your Facebook wall.

Warnings:

  1. A Buzz/Twitter bug causes your buzzes to be generated twice from your tweets. Happens once per day. Just watch out for it. Seems to occur late at night.
  2. The blog posts (and thus, Facebook posts)  and, to some extent, tweets, made from this method look bad.
  3. The links in your tweets go back to the buzz individual page, not your blog post.

I somewhat prefer just running everything through my blog and leaving Reader out of it, but sharing is so fast and efficient this way. See the pictures after “read more” to see how the shared item looks in various outlets.

Related post: 5 steps to get your blog entries on Twitter, Facebook and Google Buzz all at once, using only your WordPress blog.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *