How To Mine Your Linkedin Network Updates
You’re a well connected Linkedin customer and you think to yourself all those network updates you see on the Linkedin home page could be useful but how?
How can you harvest this information? I get more than 1,000 updates every week so over time it contains a lot of information about activities of my Linkedin network.
I’ve used the Linkedin RSS option to send all my network updates to Google Reader since July 2012. So I can (in a simplified way) mine the data for information on my connections network activity. But Google announced from 1st July 2013 they’ll be switching off their RSS reader product, leaving many (myself included) looking for alternative solutions. Not only for a RSS service but for me a new place to store and mine the information I collect from various sources.
If you know a way to export my >60,000 linkedin RSS articles before Google closes the door on Reader, then I would greatly appreciate it. I’ve yet to find a way to extract my data!!
Then, by chance, Ben at FeedBin reminded me of a cool service I was invited to join when in stealth mode back in 2011 called IFTTT, it’s still in beta but no longer in stealth and is accepting open registration.
IFTTT is one of the online services you set-up and then leave running and it just works and that’s exactly why I forgot I used it, cuz it works in the background and you forget its doing its stuff for me. It’s one of the few online services I would pay for like FeedBin.me and lastpass.com just because people who create good useful technology rely on every deserve to get paid.
I am using IFTTT to create an Internet bot to harvest my Linkedin network update RSS feed and email every update to my gmail account. This is something not normally possible, also the email can be downloaded in to my regular email client, and onto my SQL database for some more creative uses, but right now I’m just using gmail cloud storage.
So What Do I Do First?
- Switch on your LinkedIn RSS network update feed
- You will need a free account at http://www.ifttt.com
- Create the bot
- Sit back and watch your updates arrive
Switch on your LinkedIn RSS feed
You can subscribe to a news feed for network updates on the LinkedIn RSS feeds page. You can click on the link and go directly to your RSS set-up page if you’re logged into LinkedIn on your default browser.
Alternatively go to your LinkedIn account and get help on ‘RSS feed’.
The RSS feed for your network updates is a personal feed showing the latest activity from people in your LinkedIn network (similar to what you see on your LinkedIn homepage).
Turn on the feed and copy the URL in the text box shown.
You’ll need to copy the link in the text box as you’ll need to paste into the IFTTT recipe later. Of course you could just paste this into your regular RSS client but where’s the fun in that?
Go to www.ifttt.com and register as a new user, then select the ‘Create‘ option at the top of the page. Click on the ‘this‘ and scroll down until you find the familiar RSS icon;
Once signed up, click on the ‘Create‘ link and start the process By clicking on ‘this’.
And ‘choose a trigger channel‘, which will be RSS, just scroll down until you find the orange RSS icon and click.
Then select the ‘New feed item‘ and paste the URL provided by LinkedIn into the text box and click ‘Create Trigger‘
Now enter paste your LinkedIn RSS URL into the text box provided.
Once the link has been validated just click on ‘that’ to continue
You can choose either the ‘gmail’ or ’email’ icons. The difference being the ’email’ icon uses your IFTTT email address and the gmail icon allows you to enter any destination email address.
There should only be one option available to you ‘Send an email’, so click on it.
Enter the email address you want the emails to be sent too, add the text ‘LinkedIn Network update ‘ to the beginning of the Subject and go to the next step to give it a name and you’re finished.
Finished the process and activate the recipe and you will start to get emails for every network update. But this can be a problem if you are getting 100s of updates every hour. So in gmail I setup a filter with the following;
It may take a while for emails to start hitting your email account, it all depends on someone in your LinkedIn network forcing an update.
But what you can do is to add a filter so all the LinkedIn emails are tagged and below is what I did for my account.
The above filter causes the LinkedIn emails to be tagged, so they have their own folder, also archived so they do not appear in the inbox and not delivered to your email client running on your laptop. If you want to see all the updates downloaded to your email client and run local rules when uncheck the ‘Skip the Inbox (Archive it)‘ option.
Timothy C B Cox Mobile Workforce Strategy Consultant based in Dubai. Get in touch with Tim through Linkedin
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