Automate your online activism through RSS

Introduction

Activism is a luxury. It requires time, energy and often money and special skills as well. Luckily #automation can help out and let you do more with less (time and energy). It does not require a special skill or extra money either. If you chose your tooling well it includes a neat feature called RSS[1] and it can help you distribute your content from one location on the web onto many other websites and platforms. It’s an open-standard, just like HTTP, so it will work everywhere without compatibility issues.

RSS can be used for blog posts, video uploads, podcasts uploads and anything else that generates a feed. People can directly subscribe to this feed by using an app (e.g. a Firefox add-on) or cloud service (e.g. Nextcloud). But tooling may also subscribe to this feed and can use this feed as a trigger to post the content directly, or slightly modify it based on the feed.

First of all, check if the tooling you’re using is supporting RSS. Also check for add-on/plugin possibilities. If you don’t have RSS capabilities, then consider to change your tooling since RSS will really boost your activism reach and efficiency.

Implementation

Local tooling

Feed2Toot

Feed2Toot is an open-source tool which allows you to setup a Mastodon bot. It uses RSS to e.g. automatically post blog or forum posts. It dynamically adds tags found in the feed and the content may also be customized based on placeholders in the RSS standard. For example you can display the author, add static tags alongside the dynamic tags and you can filter posts from the feed. This can be handy if you only want to post certain blog or forum posts.

Cloud tooling

Discourse

Discourse is the open-source software that we use for this forum. It uses a plugin to automatically post RSS feeds via our forum bot. In case you want to make use of this forum as a Cloud RSS solution, then please leave your request here. There is also a plugin to automatically post to chat platforms such as Discord, Slack and Matrix. By syncing your RSS feed into the forum it’s automatically spread onto social-media and chat groups.

IFTT

If This Then That (IFTT) allows you to setup 5 so called applets in the free tier. These applets are composed out of an If and a Then configuration. If e.g. a new item is added to an RSS feed you can create a Then trigger. This Then trigger may use a Facebook or Twitter page. You may customize the automatic posting as well, however, dynamic tags are not supported in the free tier.

dlvr.it

dlvr.it allows you to setup 2 accounts in the free tier to automatically post. This Cloud solution has less features then IFTTT[2] but may be used as an extension when the free tier of IFTT is already fully utilized.


  1. Really Simple Syndication ↩︎

  2. If This Then That ↩︎