RSS 2. Ohhhhh
Ok, so there's a few things I wanted to say about RSS that didn't quite make it into the last post on the subject.
Yes, I see true promise in RSS is cross platform syndication and as a background technology.
But I also see promise for it as an end user technology. Why? Because I use it. It makes my life better on the internet. And though I like to pretend I'm a geek sometimes, I'm not one. If this technology didn't have the potential for mass adoption, I probably wouldn't be using it.
Here's how RSS makes my life better:
I like to get my news from lots of different places. The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, The Guardian, Alternet, etc. etc. etc.
Before RSS, I had all these bookmarked on my browser. Do you know how often I went through and checked them? Never. Never, never, never. I read the paper.
That's how I got my news. If there was a story I was interested, THEN I used my bookmarks to go browsing.
I know there are tons of you out there (not really tons of you out there because there aren't tons of you reading my blog)... But humor me... Tons of you out there who browse every morning for your news. I know because I read your blogs. I know because my partner Jeff does it.
But I don't do that. I can't stand it. I hate browsing. And then I just feel guilty for not browsing because everyone else is browsing.
And I know there are more people out there like me. I know there are plenty of people who want to be worldy and informed and beating other people in their office to the story... But they wind up just reading Yahoo! News because it's their homepage.
That's why RSS is so great... it's everything you love about email... In a browser.
An email newsletter - it's just like a feed, right? Wrong. An email newsletter comes to me whenever the sender wants to send it, just like a feed. BUT... Then it sits in my inbox until I DO something with it.
I probably got 50 email newsletters today... And it's a Saturday. Each one I have to read it, delete it, move it to a folder, do something with it.
In an era when some people send out an auto response that says, "if I haven't responded to your email in a week, I've deleted it. Please resend." We don't need more things in our in boxes.
But with RSS, I don't get anything in my inbox. I don't have a stored message. I just have an indication that there's something new, and a headline. If I like the headline, I can click on it, and read a little more, or go straight to the site. If I don't like the headline, or don't read it for a few days because I'm busy, it just goes away. It's ephemeral. Just like browsing.
That's what I like about RSS. I get notified when there's something new, I don't have to get junk in my inbox. It's neat, clean, and user-centric.
And it passes the "makes my life better" test.