Really Simple Syndication (Transcript)

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2004
Transcript of Eric Mack's eProductivity.NET video segment on Really Simple Syndication (RSS).

Video may be viewed here.

Over the next two years, probably sooner, many Web sites will see a decline in regular (repeat) web visitors, and a dramatic increase in syndicated viewership. Here's what you need to know ...

Web syndication is changing the surfing habits of people, and it is no longer just for people who are technically inclined. Web syndication is not really anything new, and yet it is. In the early days of the Web, I used to use PointCast, which had a network of syndicated channels to which I could subscribe using a proprietary news reader. Avantgo has been doing this with their channels for a long time. While not quite the same, Usenet Newsgroups have been around for ages in the technical communities.

In each of these scenarios, content was published from a handful of sources to a small, but focused audience. Now, thanks to something called, Really Simple Syndication, or "RSS," for short, anyone can publish a syndicated feed from their Web site, and thanks to this same technology, anyone using software, called an RSS Reader or aggregator, may "subscribe" to those "feeds." Now, I can keep watch on the latest news and information from all of my favorite Web sites without lifting a finger. The content comes to me.

This has the potential to turn the Web world upside down and to change the way that Web marketing works
. For Web sites, it can increase the number of return visitors and provide an additional  avenue for content distribution services. For Web visitors, it will reduce the necessity to check favorite Web sites on a regular basis, just to see if anything new has been posted.  In the future, "Smart" RSS readers, which will probably become a part of your favorite desktop application, will no doubt offer to further filter the content based upon individual interests. (The larger implications of all of this are even greater than I have described, and I plan to cover them in a future eProductivity.NET segment.)

All of this is already changing how and when I surf the Web.

At one glance, I can now quickly scan through the sites on my watch list.  Why should I have to repeatedly visit my favorite Web sites, in order to find out if anything is new? Once I have determined that I like a particular Web site, I will subscribe to the syndicated feed from that site, so that I will be notified of new information and posts, automatically.

Web site owners should see this as a wake-up call, as it re-emphasizes the importance of having current content of real value -- not just flashy presentation.  As far as I'm concerned, if I click away from a Web site, that's their fault for not keeping me engaged. Only when I want to see more of a particular story, will I click-through, to interact with the site live.

I have no expectation that the Web will go away, and I am not planning to uninstall my Web browser anytime soon; however, I do think that people who adapt to this paradigm of communication -- both for publishing and for reading -- will benefit greatly.

For me, the time that I spend surfing the Web, will be greatly reduced, which makes syndication a powerful productivity tool. Many business and professional Web sites are already picking up on this trend, providing news, tips, specials, alerts, and summary information in the RSS format. I will be offering an RSS feed for my eProductivity.NET Web site, and you can already subscribe to the RSS Feed for this site. [and I hope that you do!]

Will content syndication become the next killer Web application?
Quite possibly.

The writing is certainly on the Web.

Discussion/Comments (0):


This is my first visit to your blog and I am impressed. Subscribed to your blog :).

Posted at 06/02/2004 17:01:26 by Tejas Patel

Really Simple Syndication (Transcript)

Hello Prof. Mack,

Very good information. I like how youstarted the presentation with a video. A good draw to reading the text portion. I can easily see the potential.

James Yeargin Sr.

Posted at 02/17/2009 22:02:55 by James Yeargin

Really Simple Syndication (Transcript)

If a shift does occur towards syndication, it really does place quality content far above style. I can see how rss would appeal to individuals who view the web through a more utilitarian lens.

Thanks for the informative look at rss.

Posted at 02/20/2009 11:01:19 by Rick Squires