Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Full Text RSS Feeds from Mastodon

Prepare for a “geekier than normal” post: I want to share about a custom GPT I’m trying to build that will extract article link titles, website sources, article dates, and article hyperlinks from a Mastodon account’s RSS feed, and specifically an RSS feed which includes a particular hashtag. I’ve titled my latest iteration, “EdTechSR Podcast Link Prep via RSS.”

The background for this is: I co-host an (almost) weekly podcast with my friend, Jason Neiffer, called “The EdTech Situation Room.” Before each episode, which we live-stream to YouTube and Facebook using StreamYard, we add a variety of links to technology-related news articles from the past week to a shared Google Doc. At one point I used a IFTTT recipe to auto-copy Twitter links I shared using the hashtag #edtechSR to a separate Google Doc, and then I referred to that Google Doc when preparing for each show to copy / paste and format my links. Since I completely abandoned Twitter / “the bird site” in November 2023, and never got a custom IFTTT recipe to work for Mastodon posts with a specific hashtag, for the past year or so I’ve just been scrolling through my Mastodon feed for #edtechSR tagged posts, and manually copying / pasting / formatting article links over to our Google Doc before each show. I’d like to find some ways to automate more of this process, so that’s why I’m wanting to get help from a custom GPT.

In the course of my testing and experimentation this evening, I discovered OpenRSS.org. Unlike the “default RSS feed” contents from a Mastodon account (Example: https://mastodon.cloud/@wfryer.rss) the website OpenRSS.org allows users to create full-text feeds.

As an example, here is a webpage viewable version of my latest posts on Mastodon using the hashtag #edtechSR:

The RSS version of this feed has the following syntax, just changed at the end with an appended “.rss”

That RSS feed, however, is not “full text.” It includes links to each Mastodon post, and some meta-information like date/time and “categories” (tags) but the entries do NOT include the actual article titles or links.

Enter OpenRSS.org. The website allows anyone to create full-text RSS feeds of the 5 most recent posts:

Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to include MORE than the latest 5 posts, or how to limit those included posts to ones with a specific hashtag. I can create a full-text RSS feed for #edtechSR tagged posts on my entire Mastodon server, but theoretically that could end up including posts by other users in addition to myself. It’s also still limited to just 5 posts.

Another related (and potentially exciting) discovery I made was “Pipes,” which is self-described as “a a spiritual successor to Yahoo! Pipes.” “Back in the day,” I used Yahoo Pipes for several creative customized blog feed projects. This “child of Yahoo Pipes” project and website may be helpful in constructing the RSS feed(s) I’m wanting, but it’s too late to play with those options more tonight.

The good news is that using the OpenRSS.org version of my Mastodon account feed, I AM able to successfully get my custom GPT to parse my posted links in ALMOST the exact format I want / needed. (Here’s an archived example.) Rich media links of article titles don’t work for some reason, but it does work to just include the full URL after the other article information, and this will still save me some prep time.

Here are the questions I’d love to get answers for:

  1. Can Mastodon output (by default, without the use of a 3rd party app / website) FULL-TEXT RSS feeds?
  2. Is it possible to get a full-text OpenRSS.org feed to display more than 5 entries?
  3. Can OpenRSS.org display a user’s feed items WITH a specific hashtag? (As Mastodon can…)

If you have insights or suggestions on these questions or this overall project, please let me know!

EdTechSR Podcast Link Prep via RSS” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer

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