Only one in every fifty Americans households uses the technology, according to research by Forrester's Charlene Li. Don't look any further to find proof that RSS is failing to excite the average consumer.
Unfortunately her research doesn't go on to explain what causes this lack of interest in the technology, or what we can do to increase the appeal. Technology after all doesn’t buy reports. Marketers hoping to clog RSS with their messages however do (hence the report: Using RSS As A Marketing Tool)
But last week a friend visited as I was going through my feeds list, and I failed to sell him on the idea why RSS would be good for him. He doesn't need to read dozens of websites, and is fine with just entering the URL of the few sites that he does look at regularly.
It's not just that the name RSS is wrong. For the average consumer it doesn't solve any problems. That's exactly why Microsoft's plans for the technology can be so exciting. For the same friend does struggle to stay up to day about when he needs to play a game with his sports team. Other people would love to have feeds that keep them up to date about transactions in their retirement plans, bank accounts and credit cards.
Stop thinking about RSS as a news and blog publication tool. RSS could do so much more, and for it to become a success it has to.
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