Curate Google Alerts in Cronycle

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Cronycle lets you integrate the widest range of sources, including Google Alerts into feeds.

Feeds are used as a starting point for your information workflow. Other sources you can use to create feeds include RSS feeds, Twitter handles, newsletters, and our own automated Topics. (Note that you can also also add files on boards.)

This posts explains how to create a Google Alert and add it to Cronycle.

Step 1 – Create a Google Alert

First, in Google Alerts, create an alert for the subject you are interested in. You will see it in your list of alerts, such as Artificial Intelligence Ethics in this example:

You can use common syntax elements to shape these alerts, such as + to include content with several words, – to do exclusions, “or” to have several options, “quotes” for specific expressions, etc. Read more about more tricks to optimise your Alert here.

Step 2 – Generate an RSS link from your Google Alert

Click on the pen of the Google Alert you want to follow to show the settings. Select RSS feed in the last option to deliver the alert to.

Save to update the alert. Now, when you hide the options, you will see an RSS icon by the alert. Right click to copy the destination link – a fully working RSS feed URL.

Step 3 – Add the Google Alert in Cronycle

Now, you are ready to add this RSS link to Cronycle. In Feeds, click on Manage All Sources (bottom left).

Paste the link in the input field to add new sources: as soon as the alert is loaded, press on the + icon to save it to your source library. It appears in the list of sources, at the top.

Paste the Google Alert RSS URL in the Add new sources field and add

Next, you probably want to create a feed to see content flowing in from that Google Alert. You can select one or several sources, of different kinds if you want (Twitter handles, RSS, Google Alerts, Topics). Click on “Create Feed” to build your own custom feed.

Select the Google Alert(s) and any other source to group into a feed

You can also start adding keywords to further refine your feed. From there, you can pin interesting content to boards and continue the workflow all the way to publishing.

The resulting feed. A keywords adds more relevance.

Step 4 – Try a smart alternative: Cronycle Topics

While you can do the above to use your current set up, know that we have an alternative to Google Alerts, which we call Cronycle Topics. Our mission is to help you gain time by surfacing relevant content. You can search and preview Topics easily in the Discovery section in Cronycle, or from Add/Create Feeds.

We identify thought leaders, or influencers, per Topic. They are ranked in terms of influence within the community of the Topic, so we are confident they bring value to the discussion. We look at what these influencers share about the topic on Twitter to surface important and relevant content. You can read more about how this works on this post from Vishal, our CEO.

Explore Topics, here with the list of influencers

You can add one to five Topics per feed, and add keywords within Cronycle to you can get content at the intersection of some of our 50k Topics and another dimension.

Feed with 1 Topic (Artificial Intelligence) and ethics / ethical as keyword filters

You can also limit the influencers to take in consideration, by deactivating them individually, and/or by selecting a range.

In feed settings, filter by influencers

To try all this, create an account for free, which gives you all the power of a pro account for 28 days. No credit card required!

Start to curate in Cronycle: import OPML

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You can easily start to curate content using Cronycle: we let you import the standard file (OPML) from feed aggregators, import your Twitter contacts (Pro Trial, Pro & Enterprise plans only), get suggestions based on your Twitter activity and/or search for RSS feeds, Twitter handles and our automatically curated feeds on 50k Topics. We even have a Chrome and Safari extension to save single pieces of content or to grab RSS. This is an important start in our end-to-end workflow, to let you curate, organize and publish content.

This post is about importing OPML.

How to import sources using an OPML file

RSS aggregators let you export sources as an OPML file. This is a standard file format that consists of a list with structure and links. In the case of Feedly, the OPML file groups sources together, by feed.

In Cronycle, we have a source library to import and manage sources (in Feeds, find “Manage all sources” to the bottom left).

When you import an OPML file, you will see that all the sources appear in a list. Also, if you want to keep the same feed structure as in Feedly, you can filter sources by folder, select all, and click on Create Feed.

Then, you can name the feed, add or remove sources, and even start to add keyword filters. Save, and your feed is ready to check through!

A little work about source pooling…

Our Enterprise plan includes a unique functionality: the ability to pool sources across your organisation. All curators and admins within the organisation can see the same sources and build feeds.

We’ll soon have more news on this space, as we’ll make it more collaborative…

Receive your favourite newsletters in Cronycle

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We have some news in Feeds! You can now curate newsletters too.

Cronycle Feeds already lets you curate content from RSS feeds, Twitter handles and our own Cronycle Topics – Dynamic relevant feeds across 50k topics automatically curated from top influencers.

Now, you can receive all your newsletter subscriptions in a dedicated feed, so all your content can be collected in the same tool, ready to be filtered, selected, organised, enriched and published.

How does it work?

First, in Cronycle, go to Feeds. Click on Add Feeds. Near the bottom of the pop-up window, you will see a section called “Subscribe to newsletters”. Click on “Start Now”.

Simply copy the email address provided and use it to subscribe to your newsletters. You can close the pop-up.

As soon as the first email will be received, you will see a new feed in your feed list, named “Newsletters”. Note that this can take a couple of days, depending on the pace of your subscriptions. This is where all your issues will be collected, as well as address confirmation emails (so don’t forget to check it out!).

Currently, if you want to curate a link from a newsletter issue, you need to open the original content. From there, you can use our Content Clipper extension (available on Chrome and Safari) to save it to a board, where you can organise, enrich and publish.

Did you know? You can also easily create and send your own newsletters from your curated content, within Cronycle. Learn more here.

Our WordPress Plugin

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We recently did a total update of our plugin in WordPress. If you still have the old one, we recommend you read this detailed post and update it in WordPress. If you are new to this, please read on…

The Cronycle Content Plugin enables you to create news feeds on your website, using the content you curate on your Cronycle boards. Curated content includes articles, videos, Twitter conversations and Story Arcs (grouped content), with or without your commentary.

Our plugin has two features:

Board Content as Banner – Provide functionalities to generate a newsfeed banner on your website with certain Cronycle board content. It applies your default font.

Board Content as Draft post – Provide functionalities to fetch Cronycle board content and insert into the WordPress as draft post which can be edited and published to your website.

Create a free Cronycle account today to try it out, and follow our dedicated WordPress plugin guide.

Start using Cronycle for free

Newsletters made simple, by Cronycle

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In an age of exponential content production and social sharing, finding relevant content can feel like painstaking work. Among the options available for your audience to navigate information, curation has grown and is now standing out. Most people trust a few hand-picked curators to do at least some of the work for them. If you are reading this post, you are probably a curator (or a curator-to-be). And that’s what Cronycle can help you achieve, alone or with your team.

In this post, we’ll look at newsletters.

Newsletters are powerful tools to raise awareness of your brand and expertise. But until recently, connecting a myriad of tools to select, create and distribute issues made it a time consuming task many of you could not afford. And any change with one tool made this card castle crumble.

But this has changed, Cronycle made it simple – mostly because we integrate discovery, curation, organization and publishing in our integrated workflow.

Choose Topics of interest from over 50k Topics (and many more sources) and create feeds

Filter feeds with keywords to only get what is potentially relevant within the feeds

Pin content from the feed onto boards, or clip to your board from anywhere on the web using our Content Clipper extensions

Collaborate with your team to enrich the best content on your boards

Drag & drop the best articles within custom sections into our newsletter templates

Import & manage your newsletter distribution list, then send or schedule your issues.

Use the same board content to publish to your WordPress website, social media (via Buffer), RSS, Cronycle Curated feed, or to Slack.

Give it a try! You can sign up for free and you will get 28 days free pro trial to curate, assemble and send newsletters.

Publish content from your Cronycle boards onto your website

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The Cronycle Content Plugin enables you to create news feeds on your website, using the content you curate on your Cronycle boards. It publishes to WordPress your curated content, includes articles, videos, Twitter conversations and Story Arcs (grouped content), with or without your commentary.

Plugin has two features:

  • Board Content as Banner – Provide functionalities to generate a newsfeed banner on your website with certain Cronycle board content.
  • Board Content as Draft post – Provide functionalities to fetch Cronycle board content and insert into the WordPress as draft post which can be edited and published to your website.

Installation


  • Download, install, and activate Cronycle Content plugin from WordPress plugin store. You need a version of PHP of v7.2.8 or higher. If you have a free account on WordPress.com, you need to upgrade to business in order to install plugins, or transfer to WordPress.org. See how to do that here.
  • Login to your Cronycle account. Create board and pin content to it.
  • Then, click on Publish near the top of that board.
  • Switch on Publish to WordPress.
  • It will ask you to connect and generate a token. Copy the token.
  • Now, in WordPress, go to Settings / Cronycle Content, paste the token in the input field and press Save Token to connect the account.
  • Now you will be able to see your board content in WordPress (continue reading “How to Use?” below).
  • Back in Cronycle, on the Board Publish panel, you can adjust the type(s) of content you want to go through to WordPress, per board.
  • If you want to copy your token again, go to your profile page, in the Integrations section.
  • To send the content from several boards, you will need to switch on WordPress for each board, in its publishing settings.
  • When disconnecting, we recommend disconnecting from the WordPress Plugin Settings page.

How to use?


Board Content as a newsfeed banner 

This enables you to include a newsfeed banner on your website, with content from one of your boards. To do so, you can generate a shortcode from the banner shortcode generation options under the Banner tab in the plugin settings. Make sure you have switched on Publish to WordPress for the corresponding board in Cronycle.

Copy the shortcode and paste it into your page content.

You can also use menu options in the Classic editor block to generate and embed shortcode on to your page content.

Here are few examples of generated banners on our website. The banner is responsive, adapting to small screen sizes.

Board Content as Draft post

This feature allows you to pick board items and add them as draft blog posts. In WordPress admin dashboard, you can find your Cronycle board(s) content as draft posts under the ‘Cronycle Content’ menu option. From there you can edit and/or publish any type of board content as a regular WordPress post. You can retrieve content from all the boards you have switched on in Cronycle, in the boards publishing settings.

From the draft post tab in the plugin settings page, you can assign default categories for the content from each board, and turn on & off the transfer of tags used on your boards.

Note that the content from your Cronycle boards is imported only once to the WordPress plugin. If you modify the content on your boards (e.g. add an article to a Story Arc, or edit a summary), the modifications will not appear in WordPress. This is why we recommend using “editor approved” to filter content ready to publish. It lets you collect and refine your content on your board in Cronycle before sending to the WordPress plugin (or other publishing methods). To use it, you need:

  • A Pro or Enterprise account
  • To tick the Editor Approved box when the content is ready
  • To use editor approved as a filter in the publishing settings.

Troubleshooting

I get error messages on the WordPress login page

Although rare, it happens that there is an error following an update and interplay with other plugins. The solution is to:

  • Deactivate the Cronycle Plugin
  • Uninstall the Cronycle Plugin
  • Reinstall the Cronycle Plugin
  • Reconnect the plugin with the token provided in your Cronycle account
  • Set up again your preferences in Settings (default categories, tags, and / or banner shortcode)

Not another collaboration.

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Collaboration. “The action of working with someone to produce something”

One of our key values, not only attached to our product but also our culture featuring an international team of 12 nationalities across 4 time zones. How can you make this work effectively with  the help of technology directly impacting the way teams are engaging  today? Without surprise, the hottest job title on trend currently is  “Digital Nomad” – defining people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Such workers often work remotely from foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces, and recreational vehicles. So much for a trend though, it’s been predicted that by 2035, over 1 billion people will be working this way. Without doubt, this life isn’t for everyone, but I’m confident we have all been through office space transformations with hot-desking and remote working all very 2005.

With more tools becoming available to encourage collaborative working, we see the likes of GitHub and Slack improving efficiencies, and at a rapid pace and scale. We, as employers or employees, are working smarter and more on the go than ever before. Is there a skill for Alexa to do it? The only thing that remains the same is that  we all have the same amount of time in a day, and there is no way to get more of it. It doesn’t matter how successful or wealthy one is – we are all capped at 24 hours per day.” as quoted by The Entrepreneur.

In the way technology makes us evolve as humans, it also encourages us to shape and adapt our products. As a result, we’ve rolled-out the largest update on “Boards”. Think of a board as an enriched collaboration space online, that enables you to work on specific projects with your team and to keep track of  notes, files, articles and everything in between. Roll this up with our Chrome extension clipper. This lets you clip the content directly from the web and continue collaborating as such with tagging and commenting straight to the Boards. It has never been easier to consolidate!. As Pokeshot rightly mentioned, “Find and use tools that integrate, so your employees can find everything in one place”.

Content Clipper for Safari – launched today!

Reading Time: 1 minuteContent Clipper Safari Cronycle

Cronycle has a cool new feature for Apple users! You can now download the Content Clipper from the Safari extensions store.

The content clipper makes it easy to add articles you read from all over the web directly to boards, so you can make sure that article is part of your project, and discuss its relevance with your team.

You can also check to see if a website has a feed which you can add directly to your Cronycle, so you never miss out if they post a relevant article for you again.

For more information please see this post.

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The Future of Reading

Reading Time: 2 minutesGirl Reading

We were lucky enough to be mentioned on Future Foundations YouTube blog on ‘The Future of Reading’.

It has prompted us to think about what the future of reading will be.

Reading is simply a mechanism for processing information. @SeymourFuture believes that the future of reading will be driven by gadgets that enable us to read faster. But does ‘reading more’ necessarily mean you ‘acquire more knowledge’?

[quoter color=”aqua”]In order for reading to be valuable, you must be able to derive some actionable intelligence from the information [/quoter]

In order for reading to be valuable, you must be able to derive some actionable intelligence from the information – that is where information turns into knowledge and becomes incredibly powerful.

Why read more when you can read less, but make sure it’s always relevant content? That was one of the first questions the Cronycle founders raised when building the product. The idea developed to include collaboration, firstly because you can rely on your colleagues to notify you of articles which you should read, or are relevant for your business strategy and plan.

Secondarily, collaboration is important so your team can draw connections between different articles to find the groups opinion. You have to have the ability to add to the content by using comments to develop your ideas.

In business, it’s not the reading that matters, but what you can do with it. That’s why Cronycle is interested in ‘the future of knowledge‘ and not just the future of reading.

You can see Future Foundations video here:

Sign up for Cronycle here

What’s all the fuss about content filtering?

Reading Time: 3 minutesRSS Reader

A colleague of mine asked me this question a while ago when we were discussing the problem of the facebook algorithm. Here’s how it works: facebook shows you the news that it thinks you’re most likely to interact with. After all, if your second cousin posts endless pictures of things you’re not interested in, it makes sense for facebook to dial back on his updates and dial in some more interesting content from your sister, who posts news articles that keep you informed.

The problem is that, although this sounds fine in principle, in practise it creates a very different environment to the one you would expect. Often news is dialed back to make way for easy ‘clickbait’ type content, or videos are prioritised because they’re more engaging.

So, a computer decides what you get to see and what it will hide. And computers – while they can be incredibly smart – are not always going to make the same decisions as humans.

Over on GigaOm this week, Matthew Ingrams discussed the merits of Twitter vs facebook as a source for news. In the wake of the shocking incidents in Ferguson, Missouri, some people were surprised to see facebook almost completely devoid of news. Twitter was filled with live updates, eye-witness reports, photos and videos of events as they unfolded. Facebook: almost nothing. Why so different? While Facebook has a filtering algorithm constantly trying to guess what you’ll respond to, Twitter shows you everything from the people you follow, so you’re going to receive all the updates from people you follow in your timeline, whether you’re likely to retweet them or not. While Facebook is trying to be your personal shopper, hand-picking items it knows you’ll like, Twitter shows you all of the products in the shop.

The Twitter model is great, for a while, and gets around this initial problem of algorithmic filtering. Unfortunately, because you see everything, it can be incredibly difficult to keep track. We humans are, and always have been, fans of filtering and sorting. Even before the internet age, when we were bombarded with data from all sides, we’d rarely seek out everything – choosing instead to curate our sources (by buying a specific newspaper, or watching a particular news channel, for instance). To continue the shopping analogy, Twitter gives you the option of seeing every product, but there are so many on such a fast-moving conveyor belt you barely have time to examine something before twenty other things have gone whizzing past.

Can there be a balance? Well, there are a couple of possible ways to solve this problem. Method one – the one which facebook is trying is to simply make automated filtering better. Facebook tries to improve the algorithms so that they don’t get too one-sided, or churn out too much similar content – their priority is to keep you on the site and get you using it a lot, so ultimately if their algorithm is stopping you from doing that they’ll improve it. Twitter is also tweaking what shows up automatically on the timeline – recent changes to how ‘favourites’ are displayed have met with opposition from users, but it’s one of many experiments to try and make Twitter feel like a more  ‘usable’ place. To engage new users, Twitter is trying to introduce a form of content curation that makes it easier for people to find what they love.

Will either of these techniques work? Possibly. But one of the reasons we started Cronycle is that we think there’s a better option. Not better algorithmic filtering – because it will ultimately always run into the ‘machine’ problem – but applying a layer of human curation to the deluge of content.

Human curation is the solution to algorithmic content filtering

Cronycle takes all of your sources (the RSS feeds you subscribe to, the Twitter accounts you follow) and indexes all of the important content (anything that includes a link or image is pulled through). You can then filter and curate those posts into a collection based on criteria you choose – you can add a filter for the latest breaking news story, for example, filtering in only content from the news teams you really trust. You could have a different collection for updates on a particular area of industry, which gathers articles from expert sources that you’ve chosen yourself.

There’s a certain amount of machine help here, for sure – you’re not creating your own newspaper. Cronycle is useful because it helps you cut through the noise, and prevents you having to scroll through reams of irrelevant content just to get updates on the latest news story or blog post. But the key difference between Cronycle and any algorithmic filtering system is that you won’t run into the ‘facebook problem’ – machines pushing you content based on simplistic models of your behaviour. You choose the sources, you set the filters, and Cronycle indexes that content. Unlike facebook, it won’t ever second guess you.

Published on 21.08.2014 by Marina Cheale

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