Monday, November 07, 2011

A gift from ifttt: How I restored sharing in Google Reader

In my recent post, Bloggers: Play with ifttt, Evernote and other tools to build a content stash, I wrote about how I've tweaked a few programs' settings to make it easy for me to collect articles I read that might become fodder for my blogs. Last week, I learned that changes in Google Reader--specifically, the dropping of the "share" button--made one of those neat saving tricks obsolete. Iftt (short for "if this, then that") notified me that a task I'd set up would no longer happen, due to the change; I'd arranged it so that any shared items on Google Reader would go into a specific notebook in Evernote, and had already set Google Reader to post my shared items on Twitter. So I was out two automated tasks, bread-and-butter ones for me. With no share button in Reader, my Twitter feed was absent lots of useful articles I wanted to flag for my followers, and I wasn't able to save them where I could find them easily, in Evernote.

But two options for Google Reader tasks remain in ifttt, letting you trigger a task when you star an item or when you tag an item. I've already set up a task that puts starred items into Evernote, and I don't necessarily want to share all of them on Twitter. So I've set up a new task that shares to Twitter any Google Reader item that I tag with a specific tag (mine is "share to Twitter," so novel). Since I've also set up an ifttt task that saves my shared-on-Twitter items to Evernote, those wind up in a notebook automatically. If you're not using starred items for any other purpose, you also can do this task triggered by marking a Google Reader item with a star. Ifttt works with Twitter, Facebook, Facebook pages, blog platforms, feeds and more, so you have a variety of options to choose for your sharing.

So far, it's working, with only a couple of minutes' delay. I'm also using the +1 option to share items from Reader in Google Plus, but sharing to Twitter is an important component of my social sharing strategy. Feels great to have it restored and automatic once again. What are you doing to make up for changes in Google Reader? Share your tips in the comments.

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Katherine Summers said...

I've seen a few different fixes...and would really just like to restore Google Reader as was. This is a good one to know about, though.

Joe Bonner said...

Denise, great tip on using ifttt There's also a Greasemonkey script/Google chrome extension that brings back the share button and generates an RSS feed for shared items that looks useful:

Joe Bonner said...

Update to my previous comment: It turns out that the shared items link isn't an rss feed, which makes Reader Sharer less useful than I thought.