Monday, April 18, 2005

My comments on an RSS primer for clueless bosses

Here are my comments on the RSS primer posted by Nick Aster of SiliconValleyWatcher (entitled "Of course, you know what RSS is ... so here's an article for your clueless boss"):

I immediately read the essay after spotting the appealing title, but I was a little disappointed since the essay told only half the RSS story. It definitely does a good job of telling the reader about the merits of being a *user* of RSS feeds (the aggregation side of the equation), but says nothing about the case for being a *publisher* of RSS feeds (the syndication side of the equation). It also doesn't help to clear up the ongoing terminology confusion over the distinction between syndication and aggregation (publishing vs. subscribing).

We do have to be careful when we talk about "using" RSS feeds. "Using" should be a reference to "the user" (i.e., the reader or consumer). Feed publishers technically "use" RSS, but as a medium for publication. Even publishers also consume information, but we should be clear on the distinction between publishing a feed and "using" or consuming (subscribing to) a feed.

But otherwise it was a good essay.

Nick replied to my comments saying that he fully intended to do a two-part article, with the second part aimed specifically towards publishers.


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