Monday, January 02, 2006

"anti-RSS hype"


Scoble wrote yesterday, in a post titled "The anti-RSS hype", that there's an anti-RSS thread going on at Slashdot (which I don't read myself because it looks so ugly and hard to read). The thread was started because Yahoo and Ipsos did a survey which found that only 4% of users are using RSS.

Scoble is pretty dismissive of this and compares anti-RSS heads to the people who failed to predict the rise of the personal compuer and the people who failed to predict the rise of the GUI.

(Incidentally if you don't know what RSS is then here's a definition)

Now while I'm a fan of blogs, I have to disagree with Scoble's anti-hype hype. First of all, were personal computers and GUIs as hyped as blogs are before they broke into the mainstream? I haven't studied much computing history so someone else is going to have to tell me the answer to that, but I can't imagine they were that hyped?

Secondly, Scoble says in his post
In the meantime, you try to read 743 Web sites in a browser.

Who has the time to read 743 web sites at all? Whether using an RSS feed or using a browser? RSS feeds automate collecting the content, but you still have to read it and follow the links and so on. I don't have time to read blogs daily. Scoble himself writes at least five articles every weekday. Not all of us are paid to publish and read blog content all day long.

I think blogs are useful, and RSS as a way of making it easier to track many blogs is a very useful tool. I think it's not something most internet users need though. How many internet users want to go through a large amount of content online on a daily basis? Most users want to read and write emails, chat with friends, and go online for specific tasks such as uploading photos, searching for jobs, searching for quiz answers, etc.

It's too early to dismiss RSS but equally I think it's too early to dismiss the doubters.

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