Monday, October 13, 2008

Feed Me: information for the hungry mind

RSS feeds (or Really Simple Syndication) are a hip and convenient way to get the info you want (such as blog entries, news headlines, video postings) when you want it. RSS feeds are a way for readers to receive notifications when their favorite Web sites or blogs have been updated. Unlike receiving the daily newspaper or a magazine, RSS feeds will sort through updated information and notify readers ONLY when information they want to know about has been updated. Think of RSS as your nosy gossip-guru friend: they know all the new news, and won't hesitate to give you the low-down when something new and of interest happens. In this way, RSS filters available information and notifies you only about topics you have indicated interest in...pretty cool, huh?

So now for the good stuff, RSS feeds are F-R-E-E! What could be better than that? Unlike receiving an online subscription that you have to filter through to find what you want, what you want is pre-filtered and comes to you. There is one tiny problem: not every site offers RSS :( So, unfortunately for now, readers won't be able to get notification for every single tidbit of new info they might be interested, but most big name and savvy Web sites have already made the move to offer RSS.

So let's recap: RSS is simple (by it's own recognition), free, and gives you want-so what could go wrong? I will pose this question to you and offer a prediction myself: like anything that is "free" sooner or later there is a gimmick. I estimate that sometime soon, RSS notifications will be accompanied by advertisements from endorsers to distract you from the information you want to see (probably one of those darn flashing slot machines that would send an epileptic into a fit). After all, nothing on the Internet stays "really simple" for too long.


KC said...

I really enjoyed your text. It make me think about the future of RSS regarding advertisments. I agree that before long it wont be the same as we are experiencing now. One problem I found was I got so happy RSSing to everything I liked that before long I was so overwhelmed with information that I couldn't possibly keep up with everything I was receiving. Anyone else having that problem too?

Jameser said...


Great post! I thought you did an excellent job of summarizing RSS and explaining its functions through their applications.

Also, you bring about a very interesting point about the future of RSS. If we do see advertisements, then you are the next Nostradomus!