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RSS as a Change Agent


To better understand how RSS is changing the way companies and individuals deliver and consume content on the macro scale, let us first remember how content is traditionally delivered and consumed.

People subscribe to e-mail newsletters or e-mail update services to get content delivered directly to their inboxes. It's (or better yet, was) convenient, easy and simple.

But, in order to get content delivered to their inboxes, they must first reveal their e-mail addresses, which are basically ID numbers that allow anyone who knows them to send whatever they like to these ID numbers.

In a perfect world people would only receive the content that they requested and only from the people that they wanted to hear from --> the people that can provide them with relevant information, specific to their interests and current situation.

But this is not a perfect world.

Since the "ID number" allows anyone to contact anyone, people have very little control over who actually does contact them and what information they send them.

In a way, it's a "perfect democracy" that just doesn't work. Because, in reality, we don't want to hear from everyone that thinks they have something to say to us. In reality, we only want to hear from a very limited circle of people and receive very limited types of content categories.

But, for the sake of the argument, let's presume that we are actually getting information only from the people that we want to hear from. Unfortunately these people still have the power to send us whatever information they like, not just the information we want to receive from them. Basically, they have the power to push any kind of content to our e-mail inboxes.

We can either unsubscribe, if they give us this opportunity, from their e-mail service or continue to receive their content as it is. One of the problems with this is that unsubscribing can be a rather tedious process, definitely not a two-click affair, and some people even doubt that the unsubscribe feature will actually work.

This is our reality.

We are, more or less, forced to receive content we mostly don't want to receive, and for the content that we do want to receive, we also have to put up with much information we don't want to get.

This is the "democratic" nature of e-mail and many marketers and publishers have been abusing it for a long time. It's not the medium's fault of course; it's just that people are who we are.

And now enter RSS in to the picture, a "new" channel that users need to proactively add to their content consumption mix, including proactively adding content publishers they want to hear from, thus eliminating the "democracy" of e-mail, conversely, limiting our "content diet" only to the publishers we actually want to hear from.

But there's more.

One of this channel's characteristics is that it's extremely easy to remove content publishers you don't want to hear from.

Now, all of us have very limited time for online content consumption. It's always been this way, but with e-mail content consumption we usually don't even bother ourselves with unsubscribing from the content we don't want to receive, since we already receive hundreds of SPAM e-mails per day anyway, so why bother with unsubscribing from a few e-mail lists and the few additional e-mails we receive per week. Most people don't even know anymore what they subscribe to since they have no unified view of all of their e-mail subscriptions.

However, this new channel, RSS, is quite different. Here you have an exact view of what you subscribe to. You see exactly which content publishers are on your list and you can remove any of them immediately, without even a second thought. It's quick, easy and comfortable.

Compare this with the relative difficulty of unsubscribing from e-mail lists, and even with the e-mail mindset where you just don't care to be bothered anymore with unsubscribing, since you don't have a view of what you subscribe to anyway.

This new channel takes the democracy right out of content delivery for publishers and brings it back for end-users.

If RSS content publishers want to keep and grow their readership, they cannot afford to do the things they could have easily been doing with e-mail.

Instantly, all the content needs to be highly relevant. You can no longer afford to send out blatant advertising messages or too much content that is of little interest to your target audience. If you want to survive you need to tailor all of your content specifically to the needs of your target audience.

RSS content delivery must in nature be more relevant than content delivered by e-mail.

RSS content publishers know this and most are providing exactly this, very relevant content, usually more relevant than what most e-mail publishers are doing, since they are taking in to consideration the specific characteristics of the channel.

And there are more publishers like this every day. And eventually, even those that use both e-mail and RSS to deliver content, change the way they are delivering content using e-mail. Their entire content production becomes more relevant to the user's needs.

It's quite easy to imagine the larger-scale implications of this.

Since more and more publishers are starting to offer more relevant content, that also raises the bar for other content publishers, even those not using RSS.

Our expectations are increasing every day. We are no longer content with mediocre content, we actually expect and even demand more relevancy.

And so the circle is completed.

Early RSS publishers have started raising our expectations of what to expect from internet content and have thus affected our internet content consumption habits. Users, in affect, are starting to demand more, which in turn forces other publishers to comply with the increased demands.

This process has just begun and still has a long way to go, but it has begun and will not stop.

Copyright 2005 Rok Hrastnik

Rok Hrastnik is the author of »Unleash the Marketing & Publishing Power of RSS«, acclaimed as the best and most comprehensive guide to RSS for marketers by leading RSS experts. The complete guide on RSS for marketers: http://rss.marketingstudies.net/index.html?src=sa12


TODAYS NEWS BY OFFICEJAX FREE ADVERTISING AND AD EXCHANGE SOLUTIONSMORE RESOURCES updated Mon. July / 22 / 2024

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What Is an RSS Feed?  Lifewire

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Heads Up – AWS News Blog RSS Feed Change  AWS Blog

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CNN.com offers free RSS feeds to users, bloggers  Indiantelevision.com

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Question to those reading this blog on an RSS reader (such as Google Reader)  World Bank

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The Future of RSS is Textcasting  kottke.org

Refined.blog: A Curated List of RSS Feeds for Software Engineering Blogs - WP Tavern
Refined.blog: A Curated List of RSS Feeds for Software Engineering Blogs  WP Tavern

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Subscribe to Updates from CISA  CISA

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Return of the RSS reader  Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard

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RSS Feeds and How To Burn Them  Business 2 Community

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The Story of the First Podcast Feed  Podnews

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New Ways to Customize Your Facebook Feed  Meta Store

Social Media - UC Davis Health
Social Media  UC Davis Health

The podcast revolution - Harvard Gazette
The podcast revolution  Harvard Gazette

Subscribe to Foreign Blogs in your Native Language with Google Scripts - Digital Inspiration
Subscribe to Foreign Blogs in your Native Language with Google Scripts  Digital Inspiration

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Veteran of the Day  VA.gov Home | Veterans Affairs

What is an RSS feed? Here’s why you should still use one - Digital Trends
What is an RSS feed? Here’s why you should still use one  Digital Trends

Twitterfeed : Bringing RSS to Twitter for Every Blogger - Search Engine Journal
Twitterfeed : Bringing RSS to Twitter for Every Blogger  Search Engine Journal

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15 Years of AWS Blogging! | AWS News Blog  AWS Blog

Expanding Microsoft’s Secure Future Initiative (SFI) | Microsoft Security Blog - Microsoft
Expanding Microsoft’s Secure Future Initiative (SFI) | Microsoft Security Blog  Microsoft

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15 Companies That Really Get Corporate Blogging  SitePoint

Read Salon's blogs in your RSS reader - Salon
Read Salon's blogs in your RSS reader  Salon

Announcement: new RSS feed launched - World Bank
Announcement: new RSS feed launched  World Bank

Madan Das – the RSS Leader who could say No - The Times of India
Madan Das – the RSS Leader who could say No  The Times of India

BBC Blogs - Technology + Creativity at the BBC - Round up: BBC iPlayer RSS feeds and the Ethical Dilemma Cafe - BBC
BBC Blogs - Technology + Creativity at the BBC - Round up: BBC iPlayer RSS feeds and the Ethical Dilemma Cafe  BBC

Hey now lets users create blogs and newsletters right from their emails - The Verge
Hey now lets users create blogs and newsletters right from their emails  The Verge

20 years of Safari: A visual history - Cult of Mac
20 years of Safari: A visual history  Cult of Mac

RSS must discard its anti-democratic-secular India agenda - The Indian Express
RSS must discard its anti-democratic-secular India agenda  The Indian Express

I Grew Up Around RSS Folk; Here’s What I Know About Them - Swarajya
I Grew Up Around RSS Folk; Here’s What I Know About Them  Swarajya

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ACLU News & Commentary  ACLU

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Aeon | a world of ideas  Aeon

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How Facebook ranks content in 2023: Feed, Stories, Reels and more  Search Engine Land

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Aggregators Attack Info Overload  WIRED

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Get your news, blogs, YouTube and webcomics all in one place [Awesome Apps]  Cult of Mac

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Feed Me Featured  Film Threat

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Broadcasting the World Cup and Wimbledon in UHD - the full story  BBC

Subscribe - Word on Fire
Subscribe  Word on Fire

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Star Wars News, Articles & Quizzes  StarWars.com

RSS’s standardised Hinduism – Part 4 - The Times of India
RSS’s standardised Hinduism – Part 4  The Times of India

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RSS’s standardised Hinduism – Part 1  The Times of India

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The Editors: RSS feeds for BBC News correspondent pages  BBC

The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 1 - The Times of India
The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 1  The Times of India

RSS is not just antithetical to Muslims, but to a democratic-secular India as well - The Indian Express
RSS is not just antithetical to Muslims, but to a democratic-secular India as well  The Indian Express

The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 2 - The Times of India
The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 2  The Times of India

Technology | The Tech Lab: Dave Winer - CBBC Newsround
Technology | The Tech Lab: Dave Winer  CBBC Newsround

BBC Comedy Blog Feed - BBC
BBC Comedy Blog Feed  BBC

3 Days? RSS Had 22 Years to Form Army Against Brits, but It Didn’t - The Quint
3 Days? RSS Had 22 Years to Form Army Against Brits, but It Didn’t  The Quint

Narendra Modi behind anti-Gadkari campaign, blogs RSS ideologue - India Today
Narendra Modi behind anti-Gadkari campaign, blogs RSS ideologue  India Today

Questioning Anna on RSS is unpatriotic - The Times of India
Questioning Anna on RSS is unpatriotic  The Times of India

Will a dalit become RSS chief or Shankaracharya? - The Times of India
Will a dalit become RSS chief or Shankaracharya?  The Times of India

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5 Inspirational Wedding Photographer Blogs to Follow  SLR Lounge

How association with RSS has given meaning to my life - The Times of India
How association with RSS has given meaning to my life  The Times of India

Why Vande Mataram scores over Jana Gana Mana for RSS - The Times of India
Why Vande Mataram scores over Jana Gana Mana for RSS  The Times of India

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Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan: CM Blogs on National Technology Day  Narendra Modi

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