ContentGems can help you gather Articles from a wide variety of Feeds. A Feed is a chronologically sorted list of links to recent online content. A Feed can be provided by a news website, a blog, a content aggregator, a social media account, an online data provider, or any type of website.
Feeds are the primary mechanism for ContentGems to discover new Articles. ContentGems follows tens of thousands of Feeds and the sum of all these Feeds (the CG Firehose) produces hundreds of thousands of new Articles each day that are indexed by ContentGems. ContentGems supports two types of Feed: RSS feeds and Twitter home timelines.
You don't need to understand the details of Feeds in order to use ContentGems. You can just use the default setting where ContentGems filters relevant content from the CG Firehose. However, if you already follow some trusted Feeds, you can plug them into ContentGems to get a more focused pool of Articles to curate from.
Between Filters and Feeds, ContentGems combines the best features of RSS feed readers, social media, and web search engines in one powerful package: You can follow your trusted sources, filter out the noise, and discover new valuable sources.
With ContentGems you can add your own custom feeds as well as set up a custom feed bundle. A feed can be RSS or a connected Twitter home timeline. Note, a feed is not the same as a domain, since a feed (e.g., a Twitter feed) may contain results from many different domains.
ContentGems monitors your Twitter home timeline(s) and indexes any linked content that is shared with you. ContentGems also monitors RSS feeds, including a massive collection of feeds as well as any feeds that you add to our service.
An online news publication, a blog, or any website can publish a chronological timeline of published articles in the form of an RSS feed. An RSS feed contains a data structure with the URL, title, description, and some other data of the most recently published articles. Some websites contain a single RSS feed, and others offer large numbers of feeds, e.g., an online newspaper could have a dedicated RSS feed for each section of the newspaper.
RSS feeds are a great way to stay up to date with a given news site or blog. Instead of having to visit each website to check if there is anything new, you can just subscribe to each site's RSS feed and get automated notifications in your RSS feed reader software any time there is a new article.
The challenge around RSS feeds is that you have to find the good ones in the first place, and then you need to find in each feed the articles that are aligned with your interests. This is where ContentGems comes in: It helps you discover RSS feeds based on your interests, and it lets you extract the valuable content, based on your interests.
When we talk about RSS feeds, we also include variations of them, like Atom and JSON feeds. You can find out more about RSS feeds in the blog post Describing RSS.
Twitter is a great tool to promote ideas and newly published articles. You can follow the people you trust and keep up to date with newest developments. However, it's easy to get overwhelmed with all the tweets that are posted each day. A lot of them may be of no interest to you. However, the odd gem (did you see what we did there?) may be hiding in your Twitter feed, behind a link to a great article you wouldn't want to miss out.
ContentGems treats your Twitter feed like an RSS feed: It follows your Twitter feed and checks each Tweet for links to web pages. It follows each link, and indexes the linked Article. If it is relevant to your interests (based on your Filter settings), then ContentGems will include it in your recommended Articles.
Managing your Feeds with "Feed Bundles"
A Feed Bundle is a group of Feeds. Feed Bundles are the mechanism for specifying which Feeds you want to include or exclude in your Filters and Workflow "Fetch" Actions. You can also use them to organize your custom Feeds if you have a lot of them.
ContentGems has a pool of tens of thousands of Feeds it already follows. We refer to to the sum of all followed Feeds as the CG Firehose. This is a good place to start with (and the default settings) when you create a new Filter.
However, you may have some RSS feeds that ContentGems is not following yet, or you may want to plug in your own Twitter account for indexing. You can create a Feed Bundle containing these Feeds directly and use your custom Feed Bundles in your Filters.
You can use Feed Bundles in the following ways:
- To follow your trusted Feeds: You may have trusted Feeds from which you want to see everything they post. You can group them in a Feed Bundle and add all contained Articles to your Workflow using a "Fetch" Action.
- To limit a Filter's input: You can configure a Filter to only include Articles from a Feed Bundle's Feeds. This is useful if you want results from a certain geographic region only, or if your interests use ambiguous terms. Limiting your Filter's inputs can significantly reduce noise and help you hone in on great content.
- To exclude unwanted Feeds: You can configure a Filter to NOT include any Articles from a Feed Bundle's Feeds. This is useful for blocking low value or unrelated Feeds. Add them to the "Blocked" Feed Bundle, and none of their items will ever show up again in your Filter results.
Feed Bundles can contain Feeds of any type. They can contain a mix of RSS feeds and Twitter home timelines.
Feeds vs. Web Domains
A Web Domain is the top level web address an Article is hosted under. E.g., the Web Domain for an Article from the New York Times is "www.nytimes.com". We'd like to contrast Feeds against Web Domains: A Feed just contains a list of URLs. A Web Domain groups all URLs from a single web site. ContentGems follows Feeds, and gets from them a list of Articles. Each of these Articles belongs to a Web Domain. However, not all items in a Feed are necessarily from the same Web Domain: A Twitter home timeline will contain URLs from all kinds of Web Domains, and even though an RSS feed typically contains URLs from a single Web Domain, it doesn't necessarily have to do so.
These two concepts are important to distinguish in ContentGems: in the curation workspace, you can block all Articles from a Web Domain directly in the list of Articles by clicking on the icon below each entry.
You can also block all articles contributed by a given Feed by adding the unwanted Feed to your "Blocked" Feed Bundle.
The ContentGems Firehose
ContentGems follows a large quantity of RSS feeds and Twitter feeds and looks at all Articles contained in them. This massive stream of Articles makes up the "CG Firehose".
The CG Firehose is the entirety of all Feeds that are being followed and analyzed by ContentGems each day.
A Filter will search the entire CG Firehose by default. This is a great starting point, however in some situations, you may want to limit which Feeds are used as inputs for a Filter. You can do that under the "Sources" tab when configuring a Filter and choosing a custom Feed Bundle.