How I use Yahoo Pipes to build a customized content feed

Social media can be a terrific way to demonstrate expertise and personality — the two things that most professionals need to show the world! When we show expertise, people get the idea that we might have the knowledge and experience to help them. And when we show our personality, we show that working with us might be fun too!

Most people who have tried to maintain a well-curated, professional social media stream eventually run into the same big challenge: it is time-consuming trying to find high-quality content that demonstrates our expertise. Even with RSS readers and other tools, you have to search through a lot of chaff before you find the wheat.

I recently found a tool that helps me reduce the time I spend searching through my RSS feed by about 90%. It takes a little time to set up, but the rewards are well worth it.

Yahoo Pipes is an online tool that can do all kinds of interesting things. I use it to help sort my RSS feeds to create a single feed of only the most relevant topics for my niche. Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Login at to create your own account.
  2. Start with a “Fetch Feed” source block and input a bunch of your favorite RSS feeds. You can use more than one source block if you have tons, or you can use aggregators like, or even a feed from your own google reader. Then add some keywords of things you (and your audience) are particularly interested in to a filter block (under “operators”). Set that filter to “Permit” items with these words in their description (for tighter filtering choose title).
  3. Next, create a filter block and fill it with keywords for things you want to block. In my case I permit “small business, community, business owner, etc.” and I exclude “congress, court, bank, and so on”.
  4. Add a “Create RSS” block from the “operators” and then connect up your blocks from your source to your filters to create RSS. Now the output of that “Create RSS” block should be a feed of only the stories that are most interesting to you and your audience.

For me this took a little fine tuning to get it right. I watched it for 2–3 weeks and adjusted the keywords until the feed was 90% or more really relevant content. Now that’s my first stop when I go into my Google Reader; it’s always filled with great, relevant content that I can share with my network.

How do you keep demonstrating your expertise with your social networks?

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