This is a great post (quoted below) and links through to some significant thinking on RSS and the general adoption of the technologyâ€¦
Itâ€™s something Iâ€™ve thought about as well, though this is clearly beyond the scope of my abilities to solve (Iâ€™m a marketing guy, not a developerâ€¦). I know for a fact that most of my friends and my family who stop by hear have no aggregator installed on their computers and are not currently using bloglines, myFeedster or something similar hosted elsewhere. Kinja, which launched last week, seeks to be the aggregator for people who nothing about RSS or aggregators but will have the same challenge getting adoption to occur.
On my site if you click either of my feed links (left side scroll down), youâ€™ll get a pretty page of xml in the Mozilla family of browsers and Safari unfortunately downloads the file to your desktop. This is not a good thingâ€¦ No one can easily understand the value without using the tool, but canâ€™t quite grasp how to use the tool or even how to add feeds.
This needs a simple solution pushed through a transparent technologyâ€¦ assuming of course that we all agree aggregation is something for the massesâ€¦
Is RSS only for geeks? Should users be required to understand what â€˜XMLâ€™ or â€˜RSSâ€™ mean, in order to take advantage of subscription and aggregation? Are subscription and aggregation useful for a broad range of users, or only for â€œpowerâ€ users?
To me, the answers are obvious. I believe that subscription and aggregation are features that appeal to the mainstream, and the number of users who use RSS without having any clue about the underlying technologies could easily dwarf the number of %u201Cpower%u201D users. There are certainly people who feel differently â€“ people who think that aggregator usage is low because most users donâ€™t want or need the functionality. But Iâ€™m pretty sure that uptake is low because of poor user experience at this point. [Better Living Through Software]