I’ve previously written about the goodness that is RSS, and even commented on how the Windows Live properties, such as Spaces, are rife with various feeds for just about anything you’d ever care to share. Today, I want to draw your attention to another simple but effective way that Windows Live integrates RSS: Shared Favorites.
What are Shared Favorites, you ask? They’re essentially Windows Live’s version of social bookmarks, similar to Digg, Delicious, or even Facebook links. Hosted on SkyDrive, Shared Favorites is a public folder designed to hold links to your favorites web pages.
I say Shared Favorites is social, because links can be broadcast to others in your network as part of your What’s New feed, and like many other corners of Windows Live, others can comment on and share your links. The sharing is not just limited to your Windows Live network friends; anyone who browses your SkyDrive can also peruse your public Shared Favorites. (Before you get all “Big Brother” on me, there is separate area of SkyDrive, called Favorites, which houses your private favorites. Try not to confuse the two.)
Presently, adding a link to Shared Favorites is a bit convoluted:
In the Windows Live header, click More > SkyDrive and drill down into the Shared Favorites folder on SkyDrive.
Click Create favorite.
Fill in the URL, a friendly name, and an optional description and click Create.
If you use the Windows Live Toolbar, then it provides a dedicated Share button that simplifies the process somewhat. A few third-party tools, such as AddThis, also make it easier to share content wherever you happen to encounter it, instead of copying the URL and trudging all the way back to your own SkyDrive.
The really slick feature of Shared Favorites is RSS integration, which allows anyone who’s interested enough to follow what you share.
When you visit someone’s Shared Favorites folder, you may notice the little RSS icon lights up, indicating there’s a feed on the page. When you click it, you’ll notice a feed called Shared Favorites, which contains a rolling list of anything the owner places into the folder. If you subscribe to the feed, you’ll be alerted anytime it’s updated, allowing you to keep up with your friend’s interesting links.
There are added benefits for owner as well, because the feed links back to the Shared Favorite’s SkyDrive page, which encourages visitors to read your description and any comments before following the link.