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CEO and co-founder of Pingpad, making social productivity as instant, simple and social as messaging. Previously VP at SlideShare (acquired by LinkedIn), Co-Founder, CEO at Socialtext (the enterprise social software pioneer) and RateXchange (a B2B bandwidth exchange)

One response to “The More Than RSS Market”

  1. charlie davidson

    Ross,
    The scope of the discussion between Richard MacManus, Jeff Nolan (linked to your post), yourself and all the comments underscores the range of issues involved in the RSS debate. Consumer RSS consumption, publisher behavior, underlying integration/backoffice protocol…..

    The rapid growth in “subscribable information” (“followable” in the case of Twitter) and options for users to consume it are very positive overall. The popularity of any particular tool will fluctuate and the best approach will depend on the objective of the user. What Twitter has demonstrated is that subscribing and the experience of consuming subscription based information can be very simple and powerful. I would argue that we are in the early stages of sorting out how our personal and business lives are impacted by a world of networked and frequently changing information. The success of Twitter is very important in the this process and as each of you have suggested it should be embraced as opportunity for “RSS” readers.

    I do not necessarily see these trends sustaining the either/or view of how information is consumed. For example, I can “subscribe” to any of 70 RSS feeds or “follow” 13 or so Twitter accounts on Forbes.com. You can follow Attensa on twitter or you can subscribe to http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/12375152.rss with an RSS tool. Perhaps someone will argue there is more “Real timeness” in the Twitter stream but add in PubSubHubBub or RSS Cloud and that distinction goes away. And then of course there is the whole debate over centralized or distributed….. and which is better for the web in general.

    This is all good. Twitter has once again driven home the virtues of simplicity. But as I write this there are organizations working to overcome limitations to the utility of Twitter that result from its simplicity.

    As things evolve along the “browse” > “search” > “subscribe/follow” use model the tools we embrace change, become, obsolete and hopefully contribute to future innovation. The promise of these tools to simplify our information lives personally and professionally is huge but different approaches are required for different environments. For example, in the business context where information awareness means, innovation, execution and dollars the ability to quickly connect and subscribe to information has enormous utility that is just beginning to be explored and resized. While the notion of “subscribe” and the concept of “activity stream” have great value and form the basis for real business solutions – security policies, manageability and other factors require different tools. It is an interesting journey.