An article on Forbes about RSS has the blogosphere cheering. Although the article is your typical example of mainstream media claiming to have discovered a trend that in reality has been ongoing for months, at least it brings the technology under the eyes of a broad audience. It fails however to bring any new insights or tell something we didn't know already.
RSS (Real Simple Syndication or RDF Site Summary, depending on who you ask) of course is the XML-based syndication technology that started a second youth after the rise of weblogs and RSS readers.
The examples Forbes uses are stale and fail to tell anything new. Forbes.com offers 43 different RSS feeds. Big deal.
Craigslist gives users the option to create a custom RSS feed based on a search so you can easily find your dream apartment or car without constantly having to go to the Craigslist website. A neat feature indeed, but hardly new.
Your Silicon Valley Sleuth is addicted to his RSS reader and has been evangelising the use of those applications among his friends. But apart from news junkies, few people seem to have caught the RSS virus. Given the lack of useful content, I don't blame them.
We need new applications for RSS to truly catch on. I would love my bank and credit card company to offer a custom RSS feed that allows me to track my account activity – especially now that identity theft is a big issue in the US. The technology to deliver these data to my desktop in a secure manner is there, we just need the banks to adapt.
I'd like Forbes.com to offer RSS feeds that allows me to put in place filters, so I only get columns about RSS and e-commerce, or by a certain writer, or whatever I can think of.
Send custom advertisements to my RSS reader, so I can read them when I want and so they won't clog up my mailbox. Because I'll still be interested in a good deal, provided I get the offer when I need it.
What applications for RSS would you like to see?
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