Fred Wison: “And as much as I’d like to see RSS replace email, it’s just not going to happen overnight. RSS has to become brain dead simple to use.”
What I say:
I don’t believe RSS has “broken through.” I’m dumbfounded by how few non-techy people I know use newsreaders. They seem comfortable enough using the Web by surfing websites and getting email and using Google for search (methods that have become, as Fred desribes them, “drain dead simple”).
My primary relationship with the web is through an RSS newsreader that allows me to have the information I want seek me. I rarely use a web browser except when using search. I never “surf” or “browse.” Never. (It’s almost incomprehensible to people when I tell them I can post to this weblog and track what’s on it without ever actually visiting it via a web browser, something I rarely do except to check out if some formatting is working.)
When it comes to my use of the Web, I want information and insight and knowledge and entertainment to seek me. I don’t want to browse for it. I don’t have time to surf for it. When necessary, I will search for it. But in a perfect world, it comes looking for me.
That’s what RSS does for me.
Unfortunately, how I use the Web is not brain-dead simple. I’m not a technical person (although Nick Bradbury claims to have proof that I’m a geek). Understanding RSS — more specifically, understanding how to “subscribe” to a Real Simple Syndicated feed — took me a while to get my head around and to fully understand how to access, organize and fully appreciate. Fortunately, I took the time and effort to do so four or five years ago.
Today, I can’t imagine not using RSS. Frankly, for me, not using RSS would be brain dead.