Personalisation of Feeds for Readers

Something very weird happened this morning as I was checking my feeds. Something that is both a little scarey and very exciting.

Reading a post by VC Fred Wilson on Twitter, my own latest Twitter showed up in the feed.

Here’s how the feed looked in my (Bloglines) feed reader:

And here’s how it looks on Fred’s blog:

At first I thought to myself “wow, that’s cool. Fred chose my twitter to illustrate a point.” Then I clicked through to his blog and, well, you can see for yourself.

How did this happen? My Twitter (that I’ve used twice) isn’t linked, as far as I can tell, to my Bloglines, and the only connection I can make is that they are both browser based.

On one hand it seems to be the ultimate way to dynamically personalise your feed to your reader’s interests. If there was someone who liked my take on marketing, PR and social media but wasn’t so keen on music or sports, they could create a custom feed which only pulled in stuff they were interested in. A feed that would have examples from their own experiences. Very cool.

On the other hand, it’s a little creepy to have all the technology synched up without actually opting into it first. Right to privacy etc.

Do you know how this could’ve happened? Has this happened to you? Do you think this is a cool new marketing channel or an Orwellian nightmare?

Answers, as always, in the comments section please.  

3 Responses to Personalisation of Feeds for Readers

  1. Ed:

    I’m stumped. I’ve just gone into my Twitter account and looked at all of the various badges. There is one that will show your friends’ updates as well, but it doesn’t look like the one Fred is using. The badge he has on his blog — as far as I know — is only meant to display *his* Tweets.

    Guess you’ll have to ask him.

  2. I noticed the same thing, Ed. I was using Google Reader, so I assumed when it called up the Twitter badge in Fred’s fee it somehow grabbed my settings from somewhere. Still can’t explain it though.

  3. Ed Lee says:

    A few commenters on Fred’s own blog have said the same thing happened to them in their (Web-based) feed readers…weird.

    I guess Fred’s feed somehow asks your browser’s cookies/history/username and password memory for Twitter related details and then logs you in and simulataneously pulls in the last Twitter to the reader. I’m also guessing that the “img src=”http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AVcVentureCapitalAndTechnology/~4/107102331” tag has something to do with it…

    Ed

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