RSS In The Mainstream

    February 7, 2006

The folks at LearField Creative take a swing at simplifying RSS, adding to the conversation started here. (They define it as a “personal media outlet.”) But I still think we’ve a ways to go before adoption is widespread based on that idea.

Dave thinks there are two “barriers to brain-dead simplicity”:

  • It must be easy to find relevant feeds
  • Subscription has to be centralized
  • Those two points are correct, but are not the real barriers to brain-dead simplicity. The two points above are the barriers behind the barriers that are behind the barriers. The first barrier is this, as identified by Fred Wilson:

    “When the soccer moms, myspace kids, construction workers, and grandmothers can use RSS, commercial email will give way to RSS.”

    I’d even take it a step further than that. When the soccer moms, myspace kids, construction workers and grandmothers can explain RSS to each other, then we’ll be on our way.

    I was at a presentation of Richard Saul Wurman’s earlier this year, and the thing that I took away from the discussion was that understanding takes place when a person hearing a concept can connect it with something they already know, and understand the new concept in the context of the known one. The example he gave was explaining the concept of an “acre.” We can say “an acre is 43,560 square feet.” And that sorta gives an idea. On the other hand, we can say an acre is approximately the area covered by a football field. A-ha! Now I have an idea of what it really represents.

    What is the football field analogy for RSS?

    Christopher Carfi, CEO and co-founder of Cerado, looks at sales, marketing, and the business experience from the customers point of view. He currently is focused on understanding how emerging social technologies such as blogs, wikis, and social networking are enabling the creation of new types of customer-driven communities. He is the author of the Social Customer Manifesto weblog, and has been occasionally told that he drives and snowboards just a little too quickly.