Brian Fitzgerald of Greenpeace has written up a couple of ways his organization is using RSS and has allowed me to reprint his description here for e.politics groupies. Besides straightforward applications such as content distribution across a constellation of sites, Greenpeace is also combining RSS, Technorati, Flickr and Del.icio.us to show the buzz built up around a campaign — neat trick.
I’m more of a fan of what RSS can do in the background, without the user actually having to download an aggregator or work out Firefox bookmarking: that’s fine for the technorati, but a bridge too far for most of our site’s demographic.
I think our most successful implementation of RSS here at Greenpeace has been in a pull function rather than push. We have RSS feeds of our action asks, news and press releases, and display those around in different subsites using feed2js.
For example, the content in “Things you can do now” in the upper right of our home page is pulled from the same feed that the “Things you can do for the planet” on http://forum.greenpeace.org is pulled from, and via a Conduit toolbar (see banner bottom of our page for more on that). That currently provides us a handful of traffic relative to other sources, but highly active and aligned. It’s a nice efficiency move though: we change one XML file to change the content on four different sites.
More interesting to me from an activism point of view has been what we were able to do with RSS in reflecting back the buzz on a campaign: http://www.greenpeace.org/apple/buzz
This page takes an RSS feed from Technorati that monitors mentions of “Greenpeace and Apple” and displays back links and teasers from blogs mentioning the campaign. A second feed monitors flickr and displays a random set of images from a “Greenmyapple” group. A third pulls del.icio.us bookmarks tagged “greenmyapple”. That in particular has given us the ability to flag content that we want to make “sticky” or which hasn’t been tagged properly: you see something you think the community should know about, you tag it “greenmyapple” with del.icio.us, and it shows up in the feed, regardless of whether the author tagged it or not.
I blogged a bit about how we made this page here. Hope this helps.
[P.S. Green my Apple is a finalist in the SXSW awards. If you like what you see, give us a vote!]
Thanks man — good stuff.