March 20, 2008

Shyftr Puts Favorite Blog Posts "In Your Pocket"

Social RSS feed reader Shyftr added an interesting feature this week, which, like Google Reader's shared items, lets you choose your favorite posts from your subscribed feeds, and create a mini link blog of sorts.

Shyftr calls their version a "Pocket Blog", and like Google Reader, you can take the new RSS feed from your Pocket Blog and invite others to subscribe, making you a human blog filter, featuring not just the posts you put in your pocket, but taking steps beyond Google Reader, featuring other friends' Pocket Blogs, and customization of the look and feel, something Google's refused to do, even though I asked (politely) way back in March of 2007.

You can find my Shyftr Pocket Blog here

As mentioned in my initial coverage of Shyftr two weeks ago, the new service enables friends and peers to make comments on RSS feeds, highlighting both the most commented items, and the most popular subscribed feeds. As with other online feed readers, you can add new feeds and view stories within your Web browser.

Now, with this new addition, not only do you see how many comments are on a story, but there are buttons for "Quick Pocket", adding a story to your pocket, and also "Suggest to a Friend", which lets you forward a feed to another user or any e-mail address. You can see my Pocket Blog in the above screenshot. Interestingly, you aren't bound to an item's title as the author intended, but can title it as you wish.

By hitting "Quick Pocket", you are prompted to title the article, and then are notified, via an alert, that this has completed. It's not as quick as Google Reader's one-click option, but just as effective. You're also not bound by only the items in your own feeds. If you look at a friend's feed list, you can even "Pick Pocket" and add one of their items to your Pocket Blog. (See the Shyftr blog for more.)

The advent of Shyftr's Pocket Blog again brings up the issue of link blog portability I raised in January. While today, Google Reader's shared items are the most popular link blogs, no doubt spurred on by Feedheads, RSSMeme and ReadBurner, those who want to switch RSS readers may have to abandon their shared feeds. In a perfect world, I would be able to pick up from one service, move to another and share to a common space. Whether intentional or not, Google Reader's shared link blogs have become a key asset keeping users on board. Maybe Shyftr's Pocket Blog can do the same for them.

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