Keeping track of the many social networks you’re a member of can certainly be a challenging task. Between Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Flickr, and more, we all probably have at least two or three accounts that we check on a daily basis. If you’re an avid user of RSS readers, one solution to keep up with notifications, is to load them all into Google Reader (if you’re not a fan of Google Reader, we’d definitely recommend Feedly as a slick alternative when it comes to keeping up with RSS feeds).
The reason you might want to use a method like this is for the convenience of having all of your notifications in one place, and while you can keep up with what people are saying to you, or writing on your wall – by not being directly on your Facebook account or Flickr page, you can maintain a certain level of productivity. If you don’t want to get sucked into your social networks, just knowing what’s going on without being able to interact can be a good way to stay up to date.
Another advantage to using RSS feeds to keep up with your social network notifications is that if Facebook or Twitter happen to be blocked by your ISP or at your place of work, you can still see what other people are saying, bypassing any sort of blocks that might exist.
With some of these services, however, the challenge can be in finding the actual RSS feed. We’ve put together a guide on how to do just that on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. Unfortunately, and strangely enough, we couldn’t get an RSS feed for Google+ notifications – so it seems that Google is pretty intent on keeping you locked into the omnipresent Google taskbar.
While Twitter makes it hard to find RSS feeds for just about anything these days, there is a way to access the RSS feed for all tweets in which you’re mentioned, with the use of the search tool. All you have to do is use the following url, and simply replace USERNAME in the link below:
Once you have the URL ready with your username, you can then paste it into your RSS reader of choice. For the purpose of this article, we’ve decided to stick with Google Reader, as it is a pretty solid RSS reader. Once you’ve put the information in, you’ll receive notifications of mentions and retweets, even if the user happens to use the native Twitter retweet button.
Facebook makes life a little easier for its user by putting the RSS feed to notifications in plain sight. To find the RSS feed, all you have to do is head over to your notifications page. If you’re already logged into your Facebook account, just click here and you’ll get to the page where all your latest notifications are listed.
At the top of the page, you’ll find two options on how to keep updated on your latest Facebook notifications – via text messages or RSS.
Click on the RSS link and you’ll be taken to a page with the XML code of your notifications. Simply copy the URL in the address bar, and paste it into your RSS reader of choice, and like with Twitter, any notifications you receive on Facebook – whether someone liking a post or writing on your wall, or posting in a group or inviting you to an event – you’ll know all about it through your RSS reader.
Flickr is another one of those services which makes it a little bit more difficult to find the RSS feed for the latest activity on your photos. If you want to know when someone has left a comment on your photos, has added one of your photos to their favourites, has added you as a contact, or just about any other notification that could appear in your activity stream, you can use this method.
The first thing you’ll need to do is retrieve your Flickr user ID, this is different to your username. If you’re not sure how to find it, simply go here and paste in the username that appears on your profile. The same method can be used to retrieve the user ID of a Flickr group.
Once you have that string of numbers and letters – you can use it in the URL below, replacing ‘USERID’ with the number you retrieved.
Paste that link into your RSS reader, and you’ll ready to start receiving your Flickr notifications.
Do you have any other social networks you keep up with using RSS notifications? Let us know about them in the comments.