Mon, 02 Jun 2003 06:08:46 GMT

RSS’ Growing Importance.

The RSS feed is growing in importance. Two recent comments are an indication of the attention being paid to the fact that RSS may become the new way to dissenimate information.

Writes Jon Udell:

Direct one-click access to RSS sources is suddenly a lot more interesting. It used to be that RSS aggregators were few. Now they are many — because every copy of Radio is one. The people running these aggregators can now start to trade channels as we used to trade links.

The benefits of this new RSS fluidity, which kicks things up a level of abstraction, seem obvious to me, and will seem obvious to anyone who finds their way here to read this. But those benefits will not be obvious to most people. Casual use of ordinary links is still not nearly as prevalent in routine business and personal communication as it ought to be. The kind of meta-linking possible with channel exchange will seem even more exotic. The challenge — and opportunity — is to make all this as easy and natural as most people think email is.

Adds Tim Bray:

Eventually there will be business models built around weblogs, with more popular ones being more lucrative. And while the Pagerank-style ratings produced by Technorati, Daypop and so on are important, the big question is going to become: ?how many subscribers do you have??

[E M E R G I C . o r g]

RSS, aggregators and weblogs have benefits not immediately obvious. As in all paradigm shifts, if you are on one side of the paradigm, you simply can not understand what the person on the other side is talking about. People forget that email was not intuitively obvious for most when it first began to be used. I watched it take 2 years at Immunex before you could be certain that another scientist would read your email at least THAT day so that you would not have to walk down the hall way to ask if they had read your email. We forget just how long it can take for these sorts of empowering technologies to filter through even the most creative and innovative communities. RSS and blogs are even more non-obvious to many. But the power they provide, their ability to increase information flow, will make them extremely useful to those who use them.