Tuesday 21 April 2009

Adding RSS and Twitter feeds to local council Websites only takes a few minutes!

I was talking about this the other day. Now I don't want to pick on Wollongong City Council (WCC) specifically, but as they are my local council I just thought I would demonstrate how easy it is to start Web 2.0'ifying local council Websites if people put their minds to it. Currently there are no RSS feeds on the WCC Website, but luckily the back end is all SharePoint and it does natively support RSS (thank goodness).

The low hanging fruit on the WCC Website are their media releases... so here we go:

Firstly, by pushing the native SharePoint RSS feed through Yahoo Pipes and Feedburner I can clean up the feed a little and it generally makes performance better IMHO - from this I get a nice clean RSS feed.

The next step is to push though the RSS feed out via Twitter (since that's all the rage at the moment). So, we create a Twitter account for them and a tool like RSS To Twitter.

Now, we just sit back and wait for some news to appear... :-)

Of course there is a whole bunch of useful information that could be pushed out if it was available in the right format, for example geographic information. And yes it would be better if we didn't need to use a bunch of 3rd parties tools to mash it together, but then again this is Web 2.0 in action and none of this is mission critical stuff.

BTW Wollongong City Council are more than welcome to all these bits and pieces if they want them.

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  1. Here in the UK, RSS usage among local councils is very low, around 20%.

    I've started a campaign called Mash the State to get all UK councils using RSS by Christmas, after which we'll move on to making other parts of government more mashable.

  2. Yes RSS to Twitter Rocks


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