When Did I Become The Bandleader For RSS Backlash?
from the no,-wait-a-second... dept
Now what have I started? I must admit that the response to my post earlier this week concerning whether or not RSS was overhyped got quite an odd response. While there was a good number of comments responding to the post, I received more emails, instant messages, and personal comments than on any other story I think I’ve ever posted. What surprised me, was that every single one of them agreed that RSS was overhyped. I really expected the RSS supporters to come out of the woodwork and tell me why I was wrong. So, I was a bit surprised to find this story at InfoWorld suggesting that via that post, Techdirt is part of the “RSS backlash”. I think I was misunderstood. My point is not that RSS is bad or useless. I think RSS is great and incredibly useful. Techdirt’s very business is based on finding and aggregating information, so you can see why everyone here is interested in the possibilities of RSS. The problem is that I’m afraid, with the way it’s being pushed now, that RSS won’t live up to its potential. That’s because so many people seem focused on the standard – and not what it’s good for. The InfoWorld article suggests that I should simply butt out of the “insider” discussions if I think there’s a problem – but my point is simply that if RSS is going to live up to its potential we need to move beyond the “inside baseball” discussions and explain why RSS really is useful. Trust me, most folks who don’t already know about RSS have stopped reading this post. They see “RSS” and they think “technical junk that I don’t understand.” RSS has a marketing problem – because the focus is on RSS and not what can be done with it. We need more stories promoting the compelling applications that use RSS – not RSS itself. Most people didn’t start using email after reading articles about SMTP and how it was going to change the world. They did it because someone explained email to them in a way that made sense. Most articles on RSS focus on RSS. They say it’s this wonderful thing, but the reasons never seem compelling. They always seem like “well, it’s got a couple of advantages over email and the web for some things.” If you’re going to get people to shift away from technologies they’re comfortable with, the applications have to be clear and compelling. “RSS” is not there yet. I’m not trying to lead RSS backlash – I’m trying to figure out why there’s so much hype about the standard, when so little has been done to market what it’s useful for.