I have been thinking about RSS for a long time. I wanted to write an article about it, but two things have prevented me to date.
1) Its a boring and complex topic with a lot of semi-technical discussion of competing standards that probably wouldn’t be interesting to my customers, or wouldn’t be useful to my fellow hackers since everyone else has already written a blog post about it.
At the business blogging seminar I met Matthew Bookspan who is the director of product management for Attensa, who make a cool new product for consuming RSS and similar data. As he explained to us, one of the problems is that you soon find too much information via feeds. His company helps you to manage and prioritize that information. (I am going to buy a copy of his product and write a future post about this “attention data measuring” aspect his product which is kind of interesting to me.) This helped me to break the inertia.
I hope to write about some additional thoughts that have been bouncing around up there since the conference. As usual, the doing comes easier to me than the writing about, but I promise to try.
There are many products that help us to manage feeds, and perhaps as important as managing, to share feeds with others. There are online aggregators that allow users to subscribe to hundreds of feeds, and share those feeds with other people interested in similar information. Sort of like ones own personal newspaper, sourced from millions of available news services.
Because the services are are online, there is no need for users to download and install software.
Additionally, these services can show in real-time certain sites on the Internet that are being most frequently linked to. Although it has little or no value to the average web surfer, this thing makes really cool graphs of the HTML DOM [link removed – browsers have this tool in 2016] of any given web page, and additionally has made the inventor topical enough to get interviewed on the BBC. And Bloglines made it the most linked site of 5/30/2006.
 To tell the truth, although I as a web professional understand what is being rendered and I am fascinated watch it I am not exactly sure what the use is either.