Keeping Informed: Will Facebook and Twitter bring RSS mainstream?

At the end of January this year there was a poll in LinkedIn asking people how they wanted to be informed about LinkedIn's new features and I was surprised to see how low RSS rated in terms of a preference, particularly when compared with Email Alerts.

This reminded me that despite the fact that I have been using RSS for many years, it just hasn't become mainstream. I moved to using RSS when I found myself going to the same web sites every day to see what was new and that they were commonly starting to have a RSS logo. The beauty of RSS is that the information comes to you in one place rather than you needing to go to each site individually. For more information about how I keep up to date with what's going on in the world, check out "Keeping up with what's happening in the world".

I wonder whether the terms "RSS" and "feed" are just too geeky and this is enough to scare off lots of people. Whilst the RSS readers available today such as Google Reader and Bloglines are quite easy to use and the major Portals (e.g. iGoogle and My Yahoo!) and Web browsers have RSS support, usage of information via RSS is still low. With Facebook and Twitter now being huge aggregators of information for millions of people, maybe the funneling of information from other sites into these platforms and other applications is where the value of RSS will be (and it will be even more transparent than it is today).

I am interested to see whether Guy Kawasaki's MyAlltop will lure across the masses, but suspect that User Experience and transparency via the likes of Facebook and Twitter is where RSS will come to the masses.


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