The anti-RSS hype

Over on Slashdot it’s useful to read all the anti-RSS comments on this post that revealed a survey that Yahoo and Ipsos did that found only 4% of users are using RSS.

Heh, I LOVE this thinking. Let’s go back to 1978. How many computer users were personal computer users back then?

These guys remind me of the Unix system administrators who, back in 1991 when I was in school made fun of me (I kept evangelizing the Mac to them) saying “who needs a toy computer with a mouse and menus?”

Yeah, who does? ๐Ÿ™‚

In the meantime, you try to read 743 Web sites in a browser. Go ahead and try. I dare you.

117 thoughts on “The anti-RSS hype

  1. Well, normal people don’t read 743 web sites. They usually read 2 or 3 daily and for that purpose RSS is an overkill. At least that’s what they say on Slashdot.

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  2. Well, normal people don’t read 743 web sites. They usually read 2 or 3 daily and for that purpose RSS is an overkill. At least that’s what they say on Slashdot.

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  3. Tom: that might be right. But RSS is getting more and more useful for folks who track only a few sites too. But, it clearly isn’t for everyone right now. And that’s OK. Back in 1978 a personal computer wasn’t for everyone either. Didn’t mean it wasn’t gonna be something most people would need within 20 years or so.

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  4. Tom: that might be right. But RSS is getting more and more useful for folks who track only a few sites too. But, it clearly isn’t for everyone right now. And that’s OK. Back in 1978 a personal computer wasn’t for everyone either. Didn’t mean it wasn’t gonna be something most people would need within 20 years or so.

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  5. Yes, and also, try and do the “sitting on Slashdot hitting F5” trick while you’re on a train (unless you’ve got infinite funds to pay for wifi or GPRS – and even that doesn’t work when you’re going through a tunnel).

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  6. Yes, and also, try and do the “sitting on Slashdot hitting F5” trick while you’re on a train (unless you’ve got infinite funds to pay for wifi or GPRS – and even that doesn’t work when you’re going through a tunnel).

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  7. My question is… are you talking about RSS as in a news aggregator and a bunch of feeds?

    Or are you talking about RSS as a lightweight data transport – along the lines of OpenSearch, Simple Sharing Extensions, etc?

    Tom – you don’t have an unlimited data plan?

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  8. My question is… are you talking about RSS as in a news aggregator and a bunch of feeds?

    Or are you talking about RSS as a lightweight data transport – along the lines of OpenSearch, Simple Sharing Extensions, etc?

    Tom – you don’t have an unlimited data plan?

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  9. I think the comparison between RSS and the PC industry is a rather large stretch.

    How about a comparison with another protocol instead? The problem with making that comparison is that RSS doesn’t stand up so well compared to other protocols that we make use of on a daily basis – is RSS more interesting to most people than email? IM? HTTP? It may be more interesting to you, but I can’t see members of my family subscribing to a couple of hundred feeds to find the latest gossip in technology or who Mr Winer is gunning for next.

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  10. Everyone knows that RSS won’t make a huge jump unless someone comes up with an easy way to use it and an even easier way to explain it.

    The best way I’ve been able to explain it is to find out what the customers are interested in and exploit that angle. Whether it’s delivering performance reports instantly or showing how you can get sports team news, you have to engage people about their interests.

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  11. I think the comparison between RSS and the PC industry is a rather large stretch.

    How about a comparison with another protocol instead? The problem with making that comparison is that RSS doesn’t stand up so well compared to other protocols that we make use of on a daily basis – is RSS more interesting to most people than email? IM? HTTP? It may be more interesting to you, but I can’t see members of my family subscribing to a couple of hundred feeds to find the latest gossip in technology or who Mr Winer is gunning for next.

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  12. Everyone knows that RSS won’t make a huge jump unless someone comes up with an easy way to use it and an even easier way to explain it.

    The best way I’ve been able to explain it is to find out what the customers are interested in and exploit that angle. Whether it’s delivering performance reports instantly or showing how you can get sports team news, you have to engage people about their interests.

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  13. Brandon: alas, I don’t – I am a student and such things are beyond my means. I’m on Pay As You Go, because I’m a wifi and Skype person far more than a phone person. I basically pay for GPRS either on a 4Mb = ยฃ1 basis (about 50 cents) or ยฃ1 for a day’s GPRS access (very useful if you’re travelling all day).

    As for RSS, I was surprised that it was as high as 4%. It is a niche format. That is until (gasp) MySpace start pumping out RSS feeds.

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  14. Brandon: alas, I don’t – I am a student and such things are beyond my means. I’m on Pay As You Go, because I’m a wifi and Skype person far more than a phone person. I basically pay for GPRS either on a 4Mb = ยฃ1 basis (about 50 cents) or ยฃ1 for a day’s GPRS access (very useful if you’re travelling all day).

    As for RSS, I was surprised that it was as high as 4%. It is a niche format. That is until (gasp) MySpace start pumping out RSS feeds.

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  15. Whoops, submitted too early. Anyhoo… remember, Slashdot is the site that called the iPod “lame” when it was released. No one should let their feelings get too horribly hurt by stuff said on /.

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  16. Whoops, submitted too early. Anyhoo… remember, Slashdot is the site that called the iPod “lame” when it was released. No one should let their feelings get too horribly hurt by stuff said on /.

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  17. It just seems to me like RSS is a replay of the stuff that already existed way back in IE 4.0 viz. “ActiveDesktop Narrowcasting Channels”. I even remember “subscribing” to the Netscape news channel and making their news bar a part of the desktop wallpaper.

    I guess, RSS has _kind of_ evolved from that first idea, but it needs something like hotmail did for email. (Maybe when Google Reader comes out of beta sometime in the next 10 years!) ๐Ÿ™‚

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  18. It just seems to me like RSS is a replay of the stuff that already existed way back in IE 4.0 viz. “ActiveDesktop Narrowcasting Channels”. I even remember “subscribing” to the Netscape news channel and making their news bar a part of the desktop wallpaper.

    I guess, RSS has _kind of_ evolved from that first idea, but it needs something like hotmail did for email. (Maybe when Google Reader comes out of beta sometime in the next 10 years!) ๐Ÿ™‚

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  19. Slashdot is slow on this. This is the same study Scoble and I had an email discussion about a couple months back. Obviously, you can’t see that publicly, but Robert may remember if he sees this comment. I brought up the study in regards to the orange RSS icon I believe.

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  20. While they’re getting rid of RSS, they should also get rid of Wifi. I’m typing this from the United terminal at SFO. Just checked all my feeds. Took about two minutes, and 1 percent of my laptop’s battery. Oh they probably want to get rid of my laptop too. Who needs one of those?

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  21. Slashdot is slow on this. This is the same study Scoble and I had an email discussion about a couple months back. Obviously, you can’t see that publicly, but Robert may remember if he sees this comment. I brought up the study in regards to the orange RSS icon I believe.

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  22. While they’re getting rid of RSS, they should also get rid of Wifi. I’m typing this from the United terminal at SFO. Just checked all my feeds. Took about two minutes, and 1 percent of my laptop’s battery. Oh they probably want to get rid of my laptop too. Who needs one of those?

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  23. It’s classic tunnelvision that comes from the tech subculture. For me as an experience designer, RSS is so exciting. I think the challenge isn’t technical anymore. It’s about creating a more seamless, and less fractured experience around RSS – something we don’t have today.

    -Rich

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  24. It’s classic tunnelvision that comes from the tech subculture. For me as an experience designer, RSS is so exciting. I think the challenge isn’t technical anymore. It’s about creating a more seamless, and less fractured experience around RSS – something we don’t have today.

    -Rich

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  25. Anonymous Indian: RSS is like Active Desktop / Netscape NetCaster. They flopped because they had a small number of content providers who were providing same-old-same-old. My thoughts at the time weren’t “this is a bad idea” (though the software kind of sucked). They were “this would be great if I could subscribe to stuff other than Disney and Time Magazine”.

    Remember: good ideas often take a few failed attempts before people get it.

    Judging purely on statistics, if you went back three hundred years, you would find that some miniscule amount of the population read books. Does that make them bad technology?

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  26. Anonymous Indian: RSS is like Active Desktop / Netscape NetCaster. They flopped because they had a small number of content providers who were providing same-old-same-old. My thoughts at the time weren’t “this is a bad idea” (though the software kind of sucked). They were “this would be great if I could subscribe to stuff other than Disney and Time Magazine”.

    Remember: good ideas often take a few failed attempts before people get it.

    Judging purely on statistics, if you went back three hundred years, you would find that some miniscule amount of the population read books. Does that make them bad technology?

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  27. Just like all publicity is good publicity, all feedback is good feedback. Obviously there is a market opportunity there for someone to create an RSS something-or-other that is attractive to the Slashdot crowd.

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  28. Just like all publicity is good publicity, all feedback is good feedback. Obviously there is a market opportunity there for someone to create an RSS something-or-other that is attractive to the Slashdot crowd.

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  29. The simplest way to explain RSS to a non geek (that I can think of) is a comparison with newspaper/magazine delivery. A postman delivers subscribed magazines whenever they become available. You don’t have to go out and look for them every day.

    My brother, who doesn’t spend much time behind a computer, got the idea when I added Dilbert and some other comic strip feeds for him to read ๐Ÿ˜‰ He’s now catching up with about 10 feeds on a relatively regular basis. Other people may require different methods. Some simply have no need for RSS and I can understand that.

    The main problem is, and will likely continue to be, subscribing to feeds. That’s something that should be the number one priority for developers.

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  30. The simplest way to explain RSS to a non geek (that I can think of) is a comparison with newspaper/magazine delivery. A postman delivers subscribed magazines whenever they become available. You don’t have to go out and look for them every day.

    My brother, who doesn’t spend much time behind a computer, got the idea when I added Dilbert and some other comic strip feeds for him to read ๐Ÿ˜‰ He’s now catching up with about 10 feeds on a relatively regular basis. Other people may require different methods. Some simply have no need for RSS and I can understand that.

    The main problem is, and will likely continue to be, subscribing to feeds. That’s something that should be the number one priority for developers.

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  31. Good point Scott.

    At WINKsite.com we use RSS feeds as the mechanism for publishing content (including Creative Commons licensed books) to mobile communities.

    Do most people reading and discussing that content from their mobile phone know that? Absolutely NOT – and it’s not particularily important for them to.

    Note: When we have taken surveys such as – “Do Blogs and RSS feeds confuse you?” 61% answered Yes, 39% answered No.

    Underscoring the point that it’s the benefits of RSS that are important not nomenclature irrelevant to mainstream users.

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  32. Good point Scott.

    At WINKsite.com we use RSS feeds as the mechanism for publishing content (including Creative Commons licensed books) to mobile communities.

    Do most people reading and discussing that content from their mobile phone know that? Absolutely NOT – and it’s not particularily important for them to.

    Note: When we have taken surveys such as – “Do Blogs and RSS feeds confuse you?” 61% answered Yes, 39% answered No.

    Underscoring the point that it’s the benefits of RSS that are important not nomenclature irrelevant to mainstream users.

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  33. i use rss to get messages, alerts and news on my watch wrist watch, rss for messages from my “virtual land” sent to my phone or ambient device here. i use rss to get news alerts via aim (aol instant messenger). i get the latest photos from flickr, bookmarks from delicious, how-to projects from instructables…and search our magazine, all using rss.

    i suppose you could do this without rss, but i couldn’t.

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  34. i use rss to get messages, alerts and news on my watch wrist watch, rss for messages from my “virtual land” sent to my phone or ambient device here. i use rss to get news alerts via aim (aol instant messenger). i get the latest photos from flickr, bookmarks from delicious, how-to projects from instructables…and search our magazine, all using rss.

    i suppose you could do this without rss, but i couldn’t.

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  35. “These guys remind me of the Unix system administrators who, back in 1991 when I was in school made fun of me ”

    uhmmm, since it’s Slashdot they probably ARE the same Unix sysadmins who made fun of you in 1991.

    Wait a second, I thought you wanted all web sites to be viewable on your smartphone? Who cares about RSS if you can view the content on any device no matter how big or small? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  36. “These guys remind me of the Unix system administrators who, back in 1991 when I was in school made fun of me ”

    uhmmm, since it’s Slashdot they probably ARE the same Unix sysadmins who made fun of you in 1991.

    Wait a second, I thought you wanted all web sites to be viewable on your smartphone? Who cares about RSS if you can view the content on any device no matter how big or small? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  37. I dare anyone with a “life” to try to keep up with 743 blogs. Even with a river of new aggregator. It’s only possible if you “totally” live in the blogsphere.

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  38. I dare anyone with a “life” to try to keep up with 743 blogs. Even with a river of new aggregator. It’s only possible if you “totally” live in the blogsphere.

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  39. I fully believe the glass is more than half full for syndication, this is a medium that companies need to prepare for, it’s really another medium.

    Also, the YAHOO Syndication report (which I read and analyzed several times) shows that users use about 6 feeds, not 1-2 as stated above.

    Once this triangulates with location (GPS and mobile feedreaders) we’ve got incredible opportunities for information accuracy. It will happen

    I’ve put my thoughts about this (sorry to link away from your site Robert) I’ve been thinking and analyzing rss, it’s absolutely an opportunity that needs to be planned for –it’s coming.

    (there are several links in this post to my thoughts on RSS)
    http://jeremiahthewebprophet.blogspot.com/2005/12/syndication-conference-sf.html

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  40. I fully believe the glass is more than half full for syndication, this is a medium that companies need to prepare for, it’s really another medium.

    Also, the YAHOO Syndication report (which I read and analyzed several times) shows that users use about 6 feeds, not 1-2 as stated above.

    Once this triangulates with location (GPS and mobile feedreaders) we’ve got incredible opportunities for information accuracy. It will happen

    I’ve put my thoughts about this (sorry to link away from your site Robert) I’ve been thinking and analyzing rss, it’s absolutely an opportunity that needs to be planned for –it’s coming.

    (there are several links in this post to my thoughts on RSS)
    http://jeremiahthewebprophet.blogspot.com/2005/12/syndication-conference-sf.html

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  41. I do follow several hundred blogs (not every one daily, it varies) in a browser – largely thanks to Bloglines, several ‘Planet’-style aggregated sites and Firefox’s tabs.

    I am a fan of syndication, and believe it will grow in popularity, but growth in PC since 1978 isn’t a particularly convincing argument. “I LOVE this thinking.” Yup. Platform shoes, mirror balls, streaking, pet rocks – all those 1970’s things we couldn’t live without today…

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  42. I do follow several hundred blogs (not every one daily, it varies) in a browser – largely thanks to Bloglines, several ‘Planet’-style aggregated sites and Firefox’s tabs.

    I am a fan of syndication, and believe it will grow in popularity, but growth in PC since 1978 isn’t a particularly convincing argument. “I LOVE this thinking.” Yup. Platform shoes, mirror balls, streaking, pet rocks – all those 1970’s things we couldn’t live without today…

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  43. Hi, in 1976 myself and 6 other programer/anl were about 2 thirds done in converting a new by county from paper docs. to disc and tape drives. Our NCR computer was in a 40’X 50’air conditioned room useing Cobol and Neat 1/2/3 to get the job done. Now I am retired and stop dreaming about the problems of the county and the college. I know how things have changed, we had a 300K NCR and thought it was something else.Well I just wanted mto comment on that, thanks, James

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  44. Hi, in 1976 myself and 6 other programer/anl were about 2 thirds done in converting a new by county from paper docs. to disc and tape drives. Our NCR computer was in a 40’X 50’air conditioned room useing Cobol and Neat 1/2/3 to get the job done. Now I am retired and stop dreaming about the problems of the county and the college. I know how things have changed, we had a 300K NCR and thought it was something else.Well I just wanted mto comment on that, thanks, James

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  45. While I do read a lot of blogs and other feeds in my normal bloglines, I also have a second computer on which I don’t access my bloglines account.

    It is the time I spend at work and ‘just’ skip through about 5-15 websites via bookmarks. While I do have a justification for reading those at work, I finished that experiment after nearly 3 months of trying.

    It drives me nuts to try to click through just them not only for the having to parse every side thing but also for something I have not heard about a lot in these discussion: The disappointment when a site you like still has no updates.

    Does not happen that much with an RSS reader.

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  46. While I do read a lot of blogs and other feeds in my normal bloglines, I also have a second computer on which I don’t access my bloglines account.

    It is the time I spend at work and ‘just’ skip through about 5-15 websites via bookmarks. While I do have a justification for reading those at work, I finished that experiment after nearly 3 months of trying.

    It drives me nuts to try to click through just them not only for the having to parse every side thing but also for something I have not heard about a lot in these discussion: The disappointment when a site you like still has no updates.

    Does not happen that much with an RSS reader.

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  47. What about Podcasting and Video casting? These “surveys” seem to be slanted towards the use of RSS via just a normal web browser interface and ingnore the fact that plenty of people use RSS for non browser based content as well.

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  48. What about Podcasting and Video casting? These “surveys” seem to be slanted towards the use of RSS via just a normal web browser interface and ingnore the fact that plenty of people use RSS for non browser based content as well.

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  49. Gray-

    Regardless of the content that the RSS points to (sometimes RSS is just a ‘wrapper’) it could include anytype of content it points to from podcasts, images, text, links, videos, or whatever’s next

    I describe RSS as a Medium. (like email, websites, or even a newspaper)

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  50. Gray-

    Regardless of the content that the RSS points to (sometimes RSS is just a ‘wrapper’) it could include anytype of content it points to from podcasts, images, text, links, videos, or whatever’s next

    I describe RSS as a Medium. (like email, websites, or even a newspaper)

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  51. It will be interesting to see if users continue to use tools like bloglines, and other indexers,

    I got a chance to check out the new MS Outlook, it has feeds build right in. that’s another example that RSS is going mainstream.

    I wonder if feedreaders will be embedded in regular desktop applications, that it will be seamless.

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  52. It will be interesting to see if users continue to use tools like bloglines, and other indexers,

    I got a chance to check out the new MS Outlook, it has feeds build right in. that’s another example that RSS is going mainstream.

    I wonder if feedreaders will be embedded in regular desktop applications, that it will be seamless.

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  53. Interesting topic. One of my early 2006 tasks is to educate a group of people at work and my family about RSS, why feeds work, how to set them up and use them.

    It took me about a weekend to figure it out and I had to try every available aggregator on the Net before finally settling on Bloglines. I’ve been working on trying to write out procedures as well as a document explaining RSS. The magazine/newspaper subscription analogy works to a point, but it’s not going to be clear enough for some of them who are just now acclimated to email.

    I love RSS. It reminds me of the old Compuserve days when I’d send my forum reader out to pick up my messages from all of the forums I participated in or moderated so that I could read, answer and otherwise deal with them offline to save the connection charges. Now it’s not about connection charges, obviously, but it is still about time. It’s just faster to load them all up in the browser and scan though everything in one place.

    BUT, what I hate is the acronym that no one understands and the terminology. It’s much easier to explain “click the ‘add to My Yahoo! icon” than it is to explain what a feed is, what an aggregator is, and that it isn’t limited to the major sites…that’s a chore!

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  54. Interesting topic. One of my early 2006 tasks is to educate a group of people at work and my family about RSS, why feeds work, how to set them up and use them.

    It took me about a weekend to figure it out and I had to try every available aggregator on the Net before finally settling on Bloglines. I’ve been working on trying to write out procedures as well as a document explaining RSS. The magazine/newspaper subscription analogy works to a point, but it’s not going to be clear enough for some of them who are just now acclimated to email.

    I love RSS. It reminds me of the old Compuserve days when I’d send my forum reader out to pick up my messages from all of the forums I participated in or moderated so that I could read, answer and otherwise deal with them offline to save the connection charges. Now it’s not about connection charges, obviously, but it is still about time. It’s just faster to load them all up in the browser and scan though everything in one place.

    BUT, what I hate is the acronym that no one understands and the terminology. It’s much easier to explain “click the ‘add to My Yahoo! icon” than it is to explain what a feed is, what an aggregator is, and that it isn’t limited to the major sites…that’s a chore!

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  55. Pingback: web2.wsj2.com
  56. Actually, just spent some more time reading your post and the Slashdot/ Yahoo piece: Microsoft should buy you some glasses Robert because the report says only 4% of people are aware they are using RSS but 27% of people use it, or as they call is “an unaware RSS user”. Try reading the report.

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  57. Actually, just spent some more time reading your post and the Slashdot/ Yahoo piece: Microsoft should buy you some glasses Robert because the report says only 4% of people are aware they are using RSS but 27% of people use it, or as they call is “an unaware RSS user”. Try reading the report.

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  58. The question is do you really want blog updates to be *pushed* to you? I for one dont think so. Following blogs or news feeds does not rank at the same level as receiving e-mail notifications for instance. At least not for me. Even though I follow several blogs, when I have time and inclination I prefer to visit couple of blogs that I actually feel like reading at that time. Using an RSS reader adds to my information overload. And this is pretty much the sentiment echoed among the Slashdots comments as well.

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  59. The question is do you really want blog updates to be *pushed* to you? I for one dont think so. Following blogs or news feeds does not rank at the same level as receiving e-mail notifications for instance. At least not for me. Even though I follow several blogs, when I have time and inclination I prefer to visit couple of blogs that I actually feel like reading at that time. Using an RSS reader adds to my information overload. And this is pretty much the sentiment echoed among the Slashdots comments as well.

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  60. I have read /. for a long time (not to mentioned subscribed to their RSS feed, heh heh), and until this article (and a lot of the comments) never realized what a bunch of old school un-visionaries hang out there. There is a pervasive no-business sense attitude throughout the comment thread. The fact that 27% of users actually do use it (it doesn’t matter at the end of the day whether the users know what the underlying technology is) validates its potential straight away. It’s funny though, despite most of the commenters in that article being RSS naysayers, there are a ton of good business ideas spinkled throughout, and I think that’s where RSS will really make its impact as an aggregate (no pun intended) technology used in conjunction with many other applicaitons (podcasting is probably the best example of this today).

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  61. I have read /. for a long time (not to mentioned subscribed to their RSS feed, heh heh), and until this article (and a lot of the comments) never realized what a bunch of old school un-visionaries hang out there. There is a pervasive no-business sense attitude throughout the comment thread. The fact that 27% of users actually do use it (it doesn’t matter at the end of the day whether the users know what the underlying technology is) validates its potential straight away. It’s funny though, despite most of the commenters in that article being RSS naysayers, there are a ton of good business ideas spinkled throughout, and I think that’s where RSS will really make its impact as an aggregate (no pun intended) technology used in conjunction with many other applicaitons (podcasting is probably the best example of this today).

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  62. 743 feeds is a lot of stuff to read sure. I personally read around 250 and lets remember that most people do not update daily while some update five times a day.

    To commenter number one, yes many people do only read two or three feeds a day but perhaps they should look bigger. Before RSS feeds I used to read 10-15 newspapers omline, now I still read that many but I also read a couple hundred other “news” sources and I am sure not alone.

    anyone that has found a list by way of OPML or otherwise will agree that it is much better to have too many feeds and just look at the ones that interest them on a daily basis than be out of the loop not knowing what is current in the feild that you are interested in whether it be news or just opinion

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  63. 743 feeds is a lot of stuff to read sure. I personally read around 250 and lets remember that most people do not update daily while some update five times a day.

    To commenter number one, yes many people do only read two or three feeds a day but perhaps they should look bigger. Before RSS feeds I used to read 10-15 newspapers omline, now I still read that many but I also read a couple hundred other “news” sources and I am sure not alone.

    anyone that has found a list by way of OPML or otherwise will agree that it is much better to have too many feeds and just look at the ones that interest them on a daily basis than be out of the loop not knowing what is current in the feild that you are interested in whether it be news or just opinion

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  64. I totally agree with scoble on this, but for different reasons.

    Instead of reducing the RSS to a simple “news aggregator” that allows some freak geek to catch up daily with 743 websites (sorry scoble! ;o)), i goes exacly in the opposite direction. I don’t see RSS as a one-to-many channel, but instead my bet goes to a massive-one-to-one delivery of personalized messages.

    The message itself could be anything: a feed with personalized recommendations from Amazon, information from his baking account and credit card charges, vehicle maintenance information from his car maker, information extracted from Yahoo Finance with his personal stocks. And, obviously, the good and old plain static content too.

    All these fancy functionalities are currently available from our banks, car markers or favorite bookstores, but the problem is that they all come in different shapes, sizes, colors, forms, frequencies, and usually behind clumsy usernames and passwords. But this is not what the average user wants in the long term. He wants to be able to consolidate everything in a portable manner, accessible through multiple devices and with a consistent interface.

    This is exacly where the RSS fits is and allows users to have a single platform to receive all types of messages, and – here’s the best part! – everything under an *open* platform, not tied to a specififc proprietary tool, specific vendors or pre-determined devices.

    In the end of the day, it’s not about THE SITE delivering content; it’s about THE USER receiving the information he/she wants.

    I see a great road for rss. Maybe not in 2006, but certainly in the upcoming years. And I hope by then to be making fun of those who said that having 743 feeds is non-sense… lol.

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  65. I totally agree with scoble on this, but for different reasons.

    Instead of reducing the RSS to a simple “news aggregator” that allows some freak geek to catch up daily with 743 websites (sorry scoble! ;o)), i goes exacly in the opposite direction. I don’t see RSS as a one-to-many channel, but instead my bet goes to a massive-one-to-one delivery of personalized messages.

    The message itself could be anything: a feed with personalized recommendations from Amazon, information from his baking account and credit card charges, vehicle maintenance information from his car maker, information extracted from Yahoo Finance with his personal stocks. And, obviously, the good and old plain static content too.

    All these fancy functionalities are currently available from our banks, car markers or favorite bookstores, but the problem is that they all come in different shapes, sizes, colors, forms, frequencies, and usually behind clumsy usernames and passwords. But this is not what the average user wants in the long term. He wants to be able to consolidate everything in a portable manner, accessible through multiple devices and with a consistent interface.

    This is exacly where the RSS fits is and allows users to have a single platform to receive all types of messages, and – here’s the best part! – everything under an *open* platform, not tied to a specififc proprietary tool, specific vendors or pre-determined devices.

    In the end of the day, it’s not about THE SITE delivering content; it’s about THE USER receiving the information he/she wants.

    I see a great road for rss. Maybe not in 2006, but certainly in the upcoming years. And I hope by then to be making fun of those who said that having 743 feeds is non-sense… lol.

    Like

  66. Well, by my count, it’s currently 780 public blogs according to http://www.bloglines.com/public/bytehead/

    Evidently I’m strange. Of course, I tried aggregate reades a few years before. On dial up, it really sucked, as all of a sudden, page loads would start crawling, because the aggregator decided to grab all of the updates, and proceeded to suck all my available bandwidth away from me.

    Which is probably one reason why I’m really hooked on Bloglines, and web-based aggregators. I’m not sucking all that bandwidth through my system. Updates that I don’t care about, not my bandwidth/problem.

    Like

  67. Well, by my count, it’s currently 780 public blogs according to http://www.bloglines.com/public/bytehead/

    Evidently I’m strange. Of course, I tried aggregate reades a few years before. On dial up, it really sucked, as all of a sudden, page loads would start crawling, because the aggregator decided to grab all of the updates, and proceeded to suck all my available bandwidth away from me.

    Which is probably one reason why I’m really hooked on Bloglines, and web-based aggregators. I’m not sucking all that bandwidth through my system. Updates that I don’t care about, not my bandwidth/problem.

    Like

  68. RSS isn’t really a solution to anything. Its just another format for serving data similar to HTML.

    For the guy talking about refreshing slashdot all the time, what do you think your RSS reader is doing? In fact it likely ends up using more because its going to refresh even if you wouldn’t because you got distracted or such.

    The magazine example is similarly flawed. The news stand is still checked everyday, its just someone else doing it for you. If you are going to teach/give examples they might as well as be correct.

    The problem with RSS is the fact that you are still hammering the server to get the information, I suspect if RSS grows that the servers will end up taking on increased load and suffering because of it.

    The real solution will have to come from some new protocol. However, this will be hard as it likely won’t be standardized and things like firewalls/routers won’t play nicely.

    Like

  69. RSS isn’t really a solution to anything. Its just another format for serving data similar to HTML.

    For the guy talking about refreshing slashdot all the time, what do you think your RSS reader is doing? In fact it likely ends up using more because its going to refresh even if you wouldn’t because you got distracted or such.

    The magazine example is similarly flawed. The news stand is still checked everyday, its just someone else doing it for you. If you are going to teach/give examples they might as well as be correct.

    The problem with RSS is the fact that you are still hammering the server to get the information, I suspect if RSS grows that the servers will end up taking on increased load and suffering because of it.

    The real solution will have to come from some new protocol. However, this will be hard as it likely won’t be standardized and things like firewalls/routers won’t play nicely.

    Like

  70. We keep thinking of RSS as a way to read web pages efficiently, which it is, but that won’t make the average person use it. In fact, the average person probably shouldn’t even care what RSS is, but they should see the benefits of it.

    I think of RSS as the news crawl on the bottom of the screen on CNN, only when a topic interests me I can click and find out more. Or a stock ticker that shows me the current price of my stock. Or the headlines on my newspaper.

    RSS is already on the way to solving other problems. Technology really becomes useful when it is so well integrated into our daily like that we don’t even notice it. A couple of years ago a survey might have shown that less than 4% of people used DVD players or iPods. Clearly things change.

    Like

  71. We keep thinking of RSS as a way to read web pages efficiently, which it is, but that won’t make the average person use it. In fact, the average person probably shouldn’t even care what RSS is, but they should see the benefits of it.

    I think of RSS as the news crawl on the bottom of the screen on CNN, only when a topic interests me I can click and find out more. Or a stock ticker that shows me the current price of my stock. Or the headlines on my newspaper.

    RSS is already on the way to solving other problems. Technology really becomes useful when it is so well integrated into our daily like that we don’t even notice it. A couple of years ago a survey might have shown that less than 4% of people used DVD players or iPods. Clearly things change.

    Like

  72. Zorm, RSS is not a protocol per se, but machine readable metadata. In my case it is about one quarter of the size of my web page.

    Yes RSS can potentially lead to more hammering on your server, but it can also reduce the load because I can see the headlines at a glance and read only what interests me. You can also provide partial feeds to cut the load further (though you will make Robert unhappy).

    RSS can potentially lead to better we searching given that the metadata would be searchable versus current web pages that are basically blobs of unstructured text.

    Also in the future we may move from a pull mechanism to a push mechanism, whereby we only push changes to those who are subscribed. Amazingly, RSS as it exists today would still work in that situation.

    RSS is not perfect, but it is a shot in the right direction.

    Like

  73. Zorm, RSS is not a protocol per se, but machine readable metadata. In my case it is about one quarter of the size of my web page.

    Yes RSS can potentially lead to more hammering on your server, but it can also reduce the load because I can see the headlines at a glance and read only what interests me. You can also provide partial feeds to cut the load further (though you will make Robert unhappy).

    RSS can potentially lead to better we searching given that the metadata would be searchable versus current web pages that are basically blobs of unstructured text.

    Also in the future we may move from a pull mechanism to a push mechanism, whereby we only push changes to those who are subscribed. Amazingly, RSS as it exists today would still work in that situation.

    RSS is not perfect, but it is a shot in the right direction.

    Like

  74. “Yahoo and Ipsos did that found only 4% of users are using RSS”

    Let us shutdown the all RSS feeds for a day and see how many Websites are down / inadequate / useless.

    Like

  75. “Yahoo and Ipsos did that found only 4% of users are using RSS”

    Let us shutdown the all RSS feeds for a day and see how many Websites are down / inadequate / useless.

    Like

  76. Sigh. More Medium is the Message rot talk, same ole tired script. Like a lower top-40 hit song played over and over, until you are sick of it. And 743 Web sites? No, rather maybe 40 websites, and 703 (mostly redudant) blogs.

    Like

  77. Sigh. More Medium is the Message rot talk, same ole tired script. Like a lower top-40 hit song played over and over, until you are sick of it. And 743 Web sites? No, rather maybe 40 websites, and 703 (mostly redudant) blogs.

    Like

  78. Christopher: the blogs I read are not redundant. It’s pretty obvious you’ve never even tried reading the ones I’m currently subscribed to. If they get redundant more than once in a while I unsubscribe.

    Hey, if you like using the browser more than a news aggregator, great. For me, though, I’ve found it’s about 10x more productive to read things in an aggregator.

    Like

  79. Christopher: the blogs I read are not redundant. It’s pretty obvious you’ve never even tried reading the ones I’m currently subscribed to. If they get redundant more than once in a while I unsubscribe.

    Hey, if you like using the browser more than a news aggregator, great. For me, though, I’ve found it’s about 10x more productive to read things in an aggregator.

    Like

  80. I’ve recently switched from Bloglines to NetVibes [http://www.netvibes.com/] — kind of like a more flexible Personal Google ‘desktop’ (eg. collapsing sections). But it feels clunky! It desperately needs a more flexible gui. And more ‘modules’ (widgets, to anyone else).
    I find it an easier way of handling 25-odd, low-volume, web/tech feeds a couple of times each day than Bloglines.

    My high-volume news and “must-know-now” feeds stick on my igoogle desktop (again, an inflexible, cruddy layout) — alongside an ever-increasing stack of useful tools.

    And it’s suddenly occured to me that I might be able to do the same thing on a ProtoPage…
    Wondeful times! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  81. I’ve recently switched from Bloglines to NetVibes [http://www.netvibes.com/] — kind of like a more flexible Personal Google ‘desktop’ (eg. collapsing sections). But it feels clunky! It desperately needs a more flexible gui. And more ‘modules’ (widgets, to anyone else).
    I find it an easier way of handling 25-odd, low-volume, web/tech feeds a couple of times each day than Bloglines.

    My high-volume news and “must-know-now” feeds stick on my igoogle desktop (again, an inflexible, cruddy layout) — alongside an ever-increasing stack of useful tools.

    And it’s suddenly occured to me that I might be able to do the same thing on a ProtoPage…
    Wondeful times! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  82. #46 “The news stand is still checked everyday, its just someone else doing it for you.”

    Likewise the aggregator checks and delivers content to me. How’s that any different?

    Whatever the difference (details), how does it matter to the end user? My brother (and almost everyone else) doesn’t give a …. how these things work. The end user is a passive recipient not actively searching and that’s what matters. It’s easier and saves time even if you’re only subscribed to a single feed.

    Like

  83. #46 “The news stand is still checked everyday, its just someone else doing it for you.”

    Likewise the aggregator checks and delivers content to me. How’s that any different?

    Whatever the difference (details), how does it matter to the end user? My brother (and almost everyone else) doesn’t give a …. how these things work. The end user is a passive recipient not actively searching and that’s what matters. It’s easier and saves time even if you’re only subscribed to a single feed.

    Like

  84. Look, RSS is a format, not a device. No one REALLY cares about DVDs. They care about movies on the consumer side, or about making money on the hardware/software/hollywood side. So no one cares about RSS. That Scoble is addicted to an RSS reader is no surprise, but I think it has something to do with MS making fat clients.

    Honestly, I hate fat clients. I’d rather have Yahoo Mail than Outlook, but my company sees thing differently – for now. Someday they won’t. And I’ll be glad. So I’m never using a fat reader. I think there’s something to be said for focusing on fewer lines of thought. I can’t imagine what use Scoble has for hundreds of potential voices crying for his attention, when he already has a website with hundreds of voices trying to talk to him. The RSS/blogs development is a fad format. It’s useful in rare circumstances, like Scoble’s and some journalists. Look at Channel9 – it exists. So RSS is not enough. Fat RSS Readers are not adequate, and aren’t a huge improvement over IE.

    In other words, I think it’s keen that I can view headlines from CNN, ESPN, Autoblog, etc. without visiting their website. But they shouldn’t. And Consumers aren’t all that excited about it. If Engadget and Autoblog had a normal front page with headlines and small captions like ESPN, I wouldn’t really need that much of a feed. AND they’d make more money.

    They real application will eventually be push video. An instance where a website would get in the way, where headlines are adequate, where marking what you’ve seen is vital. On the other hand, we already have this, and it’s called Tivo.

    I guess RSS Readers are Tivo for weboholics.

    Like

  85. Look, RSS is a format, not a device. No one REALLY cares about DVDs. They care about movies on the consumer side, or about making money on the hardware/software/hollywood side. So no one cares about RSS. That Scoble is addicted to an RSS reader is no surprise, but I think it has something to do with MS making fat clients.

    Honestly, I hate fat clients. I’d rather have Yahoo Mail than Outlook, but my company sees thing differently – for now. Someday they won’t. And I’ll be glad. So I’m never using a fat reader. I think there’s something to be said for focusing on fewer lines of thought. I can’t imagine what use Scoble has for hundreds of potential voices crying for his attention, when he already has a website with hundreds of voices trying to talk to him. The RSS/blogs development is a fad format. It’s useful in rare circumstances, like Scoble’s and some journalists. Look at Channel9 – it exists. So RSS is not enough. Fat RSS Readers are not adequate, and aren’t a huge improvement over IE.

    In other words, I think it’s keen that I can view headlines from CNN, ESPN, Autoblog, etc. without visiting their website. But they shouldn’t. And Consumers aren’t all that excited about it. If Engadget and Autoblog had a normal front page with headlines and small captions like ESPN, I wouldn’t really need that much of a feed. AND they’d make more money.

    They real application will eventually be push video. An instance where a website would get in the way, where headlines are adequate, where marking what you’ve seen is vital. On the other hand, we already have this, and it’s called Tivo.

    I guess RSS Readers are Tivo for weboholics.

    Like

  86. Itโ€™s pretty obvious youโ€™ve never even tried reading the ones Iโ€™m currently subscribed to

    Wanta bet? I have nearly all (and more) in my 1,500 one, tho you thankfully purged Jason’s network (another redudant posting gig). And my defintion of redudant is quite differing than yours obviously. Thankfully it’s a free world and I get to choose, not having you as my gatekeeper. Heck, even you praise Gabe’s toolset to high heaven, when it just algo’s the main topics from the main personalities, with overlap-tracking as a FEATURE, and all from the same perspective and without much in the way of real reporting. That to me is redudant.

    Read 743 websites in a browser? Yes, easy. Tons of PR/News Culling toolsets out there, you know. Get beyond your limited bloggeristic view. Cymfony Dashboard for one. Problem here it be not grassroots, rather limited to the professional market, as such be where demand lies. But thinking there is no solution, only shows your glaring ignorance of this market.

    Like

  87. Itโ€™s pretty obvious youโ€™ve never even tried reading the ones Iโ€™m currently subscribed to

    Wanta bet? I have nearly all (and more) in my 1,500 one, tho you thankfully purged Jason’s network (another redudant posting gig). And my defintion of redudant is quite differing than yours obviously. Thankfully it’s a free world and I get to choose, not having you as my gatekeeper. Heck, even you praise Gabe’s toolset to high heaven, when it just algo’s the main topics from the main personalities, with overlap-tracking as a FEATURE, and all from the same perspective and without much in the way of real reporting. That to me is redudant.

    Read 743 websites in a browser? Yes, easy. Tons of PR/News Culling toolsets out there, you know. Get beyond your limited bloggeristic view. Cymfony Dashboard for one. Problem here it be not grassroots, rather limited to the professional market, as such be where demand lies. But thinking there is no solution, only shows your glaring ignorance of this market.

    Like

  88. Generally speaking I like Slashdot to see what is happening in Geek town (no offense!), but to me it always appears as though the people there dislike anything that gets attention or that has the potential to become mainstream, heck, even popular. See the example of the iPod which was called “lame” on Slashdot. To me the crowd there appears like those guys that stop listening to bands they liked before but that now became popular or that have been played on the radio (“damn, they have become commercial, they lost their credibility!”). Nothing wrong with that, but please regard Slashdot’s discussion within the right context.

    Like

  89. Generally speaking I like Slashdot to see what is happening in Geek town (no offense!), but to me it always appears as though the people there dislike anything that gets attention or that has the potential to become mainstream, heck, even popular. See the example of the iPod which was called “lame” on Slashdot. To me the crowd there appears like those guys that stop listening to bands they liked before but that now became popular or that have been played on the radio (“damn, they have become commercial, they lost their credibility!”). Nothing wrong with that, but please regard Slashdot’s discussion within the right context.

    Like

  90. hmmm, wow there is a lot of interest in RSS on Scobe’s site. I was just at @Media London last week and lots of people were talking about it there too. That tells me there is lots of interest and perhaps lots of potential too.

    I don’t want to be too confrontation but for me RSS is a means to an end. RSS will help move data more efficiently. It already does that for Winer, Scoble, Michael(techcrunch), etc. But these guys are techs so they are willing to utilise a service with rough edges the public doesn’t.

    So as I see we have a great protocol with amazing potential but how it is being used today is probably nothing like what it will be in 5yrs when it is truely mainstream.

    Scoble makes a good point in his post about the Mac and UNIX. Today RSS is UNIX efficient but not friendly, tomorrow though RSS could be the new Mac OSX.

    Only time will tell but I have faith, we have only scratched the surface of RSS’s potential in my opinion.

    Like

  91. hmmm, wow there is a lot of interest in RSS on Scobe’s site. I was just at @Media London last week and lots of people were talking about it there too. That tells me there is lots of interest and perhaps lots of potential too.

    I don’t want to be too confrontation but for me RSS is a means to an end. RSS will help move data more efficiently. It already does that for Winer, Scoble, Michael(techcrunch), etc. But these guys are techs so they are willing to utilise a service with rough edges the public doesn’t.

    So as I see we have a great protocol with amazing potential but how it is being used today is probably nothing like what it will be in 5yrs when it is truely mainstream.

    Scoble makes a good point in his post about the Mac and UNIX. Today RSS is UNIX efficient but not friendly, tomorrow though RSS could be the new Mac OSX.

    Only time will tell but I have faith, we have only scratched the surface of RSS’s potential in my opinion.

    Like

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