onepolitics, the new Puffbox site

onepoliticsIt wasn’t originally intended for public consumption, but today I’m unveiling a new website produced by Puffbox. onepolitics is an at-a-glance view of the latest posts on the growing number of political blogs being written by ‘proper’ reporters. You can wait until tomorrow to see what they say in print, or in tonight’s bulletin; or you can get advance warning from what they’re writing on their blogs.
In essence, it’s an RSS aggregator for people who don’t get RSS. I realised I’d written too many posts looking forward to the day when RSS would go mainstream – and it still shows very little sign of happening imminently. And all the while, I’m talking to public sector people for whom RSS is several evolutionary steps away. I’ve written quite lengthy explainers, covering the concept and the technicals, on the new site itself… so I won’t duplicate my efforts here. Suffice to say, it’s WordPress. But you all knew that already.
onepolitics is the first fruit of my promise to give myself some Google-style ’20 per cent time’; a project with a loose connection to my work, but no direct commercial application. But I’m starting to wonder if it might be of interest to clients. Press offices or stakeholder managers, maybe, who don’t yet have any kind of blog monitoring strategy. We could be pulling in any kind of RSS feed; and could be indexing them, or just listing them (as with the ‘meanwhile in the blogosphere’ box on the homepage). Even better, it’s almost entirely automated, updating in the background as often as you like.
It’s also making me wonder if there’s a need for a bridge between casual web surfing, with zero commitment to the site or subject; and the ‘need to know’ hunger for RSS subscriptions. I’m finding myself looking at onepolitics during quiet moments through the day, purely to see what’s popping up. I’m kind of interested in this sort of content generally, but not enough to want to be disturbed by every new item popping up in my RSS reader.
I’m making no promises about onepolitics. It is what it is, for now anyway. Please have a play with it, and tell me what you think. There are a couple of glitches I know about, and can’t really justify fixing, so don’t get too pedantic please.

11 thoughts on “onepolitics, the new Puffbox site”

  1. simple but really effective…a real lesson in the potential of RSS…well done Simon.

  2. I really like the concept of ‘Google time’ to pursue personal/professional projects like this. The site’s very easy to use and it’s a great example of how flexible WordPress can be. Will be very interested to see how onepolitics evolves or whether any siblings are born!

  3. Good work, Simon. Will cover it in more depth on my own blog over the weekend. Just wondering about the blogosphere bit – maybe it would be nice for people to get their posts included by use of a common tag?

  4. That’s not really what I’m trying to achieve though, Dave. If people wanted to do that, they would have to be pretty knowledgeable already, and would probably do it via Technorati or something anyway.
    The choice of blogs to be monitored is unashamedly subjective. I’ve only pointed to (what I consider to be) the good ones, and I’ve tried to choose a good political spread. Besides, it’s only meant to be a proof of concept, showing in that case what you can pull from Google Reader.

  5. I certainly could offer that… if people wanted it. But it would seem a bit odd to produce an aggregated RSS feed of RSS feeds, wouldn’t it? Authors would be more likely to see it as unfair use of their editorial efforts, I guess; and I’m not looking to steal their feed subscribers.
    Besides, between you and me, it’s dead easy to set up your own aggregated RSS feed using Google Reader tags… that’s actually how I’m powering the ‘Meanwhile in the blogosphere’ list. I don’t use Google Reader myself, but that part of its functionality was too good to miss. And it also seems to update very, very, very quickly.

  6. I was thinking that an aggregated feed of feeds would be just the ticket because it would reduce the list of feeds I trawl through! Will investigate Google Reader… sounds like it’s time to review my RSS habits…

  7. Thanks for the feedback, gang. We now have a proper footer, and a few tweaks to the stylesheet which should remove any minor (trivial?) formatting hiccups.
    It’s just a question now of seeing if people like the site, and use it. I have to say, I’ve found it fascinating to have a from-all-sides overview of developing stories like the Tories’ Auschwitz whoopsie, and the questions surrounding Commons speaker Michael Martin. I’m not sure you’d have got that from straight RSS consumption.

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