I’ve been talking about RSS for like 5 years now and it seems like the adoption rate is still painfully slow. Brian writes:
When I first started Copyblogger, I was a huge RSS evangelist. Over two years later, email is still very much alive. That fact is most evident with my other projects, but even here at Copyblogger over 6,000 people subscribe by email and they tend to be the most responsive.
I think the huge hurdle is still terminology.
We called them RSS, then XML feeds, then newsfeeds then feeds then suddenly Atom came along and the format wars began, egos got involved and everything and then you had aggregators and feed readers and firehose and river-of-news and it all degraded far away from the whole point of feeds in the first place:
Monitor things that are important to you in one place.
We still use terminology to ghetto-ize our technologies from the normal ‘real’ people who could be using them. I hate the term ‘blogosphere’ – it is one more way to separate blogs and make them alien. I hate that we call them ‘tags’ instead of keywords since it has taken years to get people to undestand that keywords are ‘what you done typed in that there box’ – that makes no sense to a normal person.
Trying to explain feeds you first have to ask:
Do you know what a Tivo is? (No.) Okay, do you use My Yahoo!’s custom news page? (I don’t know.) Do you use My AOL (No, I use Internet Explorer.). Well you have this aggregator and it sits on your computer well sometimes it can be on your browser too but it can also be in your system tray but then again it might also just be in your Microsoft Outlook.
That is why I’ve always described an aggregator as such:
It is like having a personal research assistant chained in your basement that is constantly checking your favorite websites and updates and is always ready to give you the most recent updates. And if they are really good they’ll even put the lotion in the basket.
I think we shouldn’t even talk about aggregators or feed readers. Just talk about ‘Add this to your Google Homepage’ or ‘Add this to Your My Yahoo!’ page.
The real truth, I think, is that most people simply don’t want that much information fucking up their day.
Just like with bad copywriting – we focus so much on features features features and not benefits. We are transfixed by our amazing technology. How does it help people? Real people.