SharePoint 2010 offers a new way of looking at the world, the Activity Feed (a.k.a the “My Newsfeed” section of your My Site). There seems to be plenty of confusion on what exactly is tracked in your Activity Feed, who sees what, and when it shows up on the site.
First things first…the Activity Feed works on a timer job, one of many jobs that make up the User Profile Service Application (Service Applications have replaced the SSP from MOSS 2007). This job can be configured to run on any schedule you choose. SharePoint defaults to hourly, but this can changed easily enough. Every time the job runs, a crawler goes out, scans the farm, aggregates recently submitted activities and shoves them into their own database. Once inside the Activity Feed database, the activity is now available on your My Newsfeed (and via the Activity Feed APIs via the SharePoint Object Model…more on that in a future post).
Your Activity Feed will only track activities that have been posted by your colleagues that you “added”, very similar to Facebook or MySpace. Unless you have colleagues that are actively doing anything on the site, your Activity Feed will be empty. This is important because you may ask…”hey I’ve created a Team Site and I want to see everything that happens on this site, regardless of who did it!” Well, you can’t, unless you want to add every person in your company as a colleague, and even then your activity feed will only track CERTAIN activities that your collegues perform.
For instance, editing a profile or tagging a page will be tracked. However, uploading a document to a document library or editing a document is not. So even if I added every person in the company as a colleague, I still cannot see most CONTENT related activities. The Activity Feed tracks mostly PEOPLE related activities, like tags / notes / editing profile fields etc. You can see a list of what is tracked, and choose what to track, via your Edit Profile page on your MY Site.
So there you have the 20,000 foot view of the Activity Feed world. Part 2 of this post will involve a more in-depth look at the Activity Feed API to access to display, edit and publish your own feeds.