How to start your own Channel

As we already have mentioned here, everybody is now able to create Channels in our social news reader Twingly Channels. With Twingly Channels you can set up a stream for any topic you are interested in, pull in content from external sources and invite others to subscribe, participate and discuss.

In this post we will show you how to get started with Twingly Channels, and how to get the most out of this tool. The basic rule is that a Channel is becoming more powerful the more relevant content is imported and the more people are contributing to it.

You need a Twingly account to be able to create a Channel. Go to Twingly.com and either sign in with your existing credentials or just follow the steps to create a new account. After that’s done you can log-in to Twingly and click on the big green “Create New Channel” button to the right.

Now you need to decide about a name for the Channel. Keep in mind that you cannot change the name afterwards, but you can change the Title and Description that we also ask you to fill in. This information helps other users to understand what your Channel is about. Click on “Create Channel”.

Congratulations, you have just created your own Twingly Channel with an unique web address that everybody can access.

The next step is to make your Channel feel alive by importing content from external sources. There are 2 main ways to pull content into your Channel: By subscribing to blogs and all other sites that provide a RSS feed and by subscribing to search terms.

Importing content from blogs and RSS feeds

Let’s focus on subscribing to blogs and other RSS feeds first. To get them into your Channel, click on “Sources” at the bottom of the right column in your Channel. A window is opening that asks you to enter the address of the RSS feed you want to pull into your Channel and a title. On most websites you can find the link to the RSS feed buy simply searching for “RSS” or watching out for orange RSS icon. Copy the link to the RSS feed and paste it into the “RSS feed” Form.

So in our example, let’s import a few sites, like the Twingly blog, TechCrunch, Mashable and the Huffington Post. All are being added to the list of our Sources and are shown in the “Sources” menu. There you can also delete sites whose content you don’t want to pull into your Channel anymore. Make sure that each address you add starts with http://

We recommend you to begin with a few sources highly relevant to the topic of your Channel, to see how much content will appear in your Channel. You can add more sources later. After adding sources it might take a while until the first articles from those sites are being shown in your Channel.

Importing content via search terms

After you have added some blogs or other websites, let’s also subscribe to a few search terms. Click on “Search terms” at the bottom of the right column in your Channel. For our tutorial let’s add the search terms “Twingly”, “Social Web” and “worldcup”. This means that in the future, all blog posts found by the Twingly blog search engine containing those words will appear in your Channel as well.

Since some search terms can lead to hundreds of results we recommend you to choose the keywords carefully and try to use only those that are as relevant as possible to the topic of your Channel.

Search tips:

– Use “” if you want specific search phrases like “Twingly Channels”. If you don’t use “”, it’ll be results containing “Twingly” and/or “Channels”.

– To only get results on a specific language, add language specification by using “lang:en” in the search term. To only get Swedish results, for example when adding a search for “Twingly Channels”, make the search term like this:

    “twingly channels” lang:sv

    Even with search terms it might take a while until the first articles appear in your Channel. Don’t forget to reload the page.

    Each piece of content that is pulled into the Channel consists of the following elements:

    – Headline of the article and direct link to it
    – Name and link of the Source
    – The first 2 or 3 lines of the article
    – A list of blog posts that link to the article
    – A list of Twitter messages that links to the article

      Each piece of content can be commented, “liked” and also deleted (only the creator of the Channel can delete items). If you want to link to a specific article in Twingly Channels, you can get the link by clicking on “Permalink”. You can switch between 2 views: “Top stories” which only presents you with the most popular content based on Twingly’s algorithm and “Incoming stories” which shows you each piece of content from the sources you chose.

      Getting people to subscribe and to participate

      Let summarize: You have imported a few blogs and search terms into your Channel which is now regularly and automatically updated with the latest content from those sources. And everybody can access the Channel through a public address. Now you need to invite other people to subscribe to your Channel. Even though every Twingly user is able to contribute to your Channel, when they subscribe your Channel is shown to them every time they log-in to Twingly, which makes it much more likely for them to check back often. Make sure to link to it from your own blog, web site or Facebook profile as well!

      Just send the link to your Channel to the people you want to subscribe. When they are logged in to their Twingly account, they will see the big green “subscribe” button in the right column.

      And before your Channel is really ready for action you might want to change the Channel icon. Click on “change totem” at the top of your Channel and upload a graphic that fits to the topic of your Channel.

      We hope you find value in using Twingly Channel. In the first days after creation and after inviting contributors it can be a good idea to encourage subscribers to participate, to comment and to add their own links (possible in the “Incoming stories” view). Help them to make it a daily routine to check your Channel. Channels are more fun when people are actively using them.

      If you like Twingly Channels, spread the word about it, it’s more fun with friends!

      /Martin Weigert

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