A Second Opinion

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, the PC Doctor, agrees with me that RSS is fighting an uphill battle for acceptance by the masses.

He cites this survey by Nielson/Netratings that found that most blog readers have no idea what RSS is. If blog readers don’t know what it is, imagine how few occasional internet surfers know. Adrian talks a little about the “chrome” and how the users are hooked on the “shiny stuff.” I think there’s a lot of truth to that, but my take on RSS is that it has two things working against it: that most non-geeks don’t know what it is, much less how to use it (a position supported by the survey), and that a lot of the ancillary content on a web site is left out of the RSS feeds. Many of the hacks on Tom Evslin’s excellent site are designed to address this problem by bringing this extra content into RSS feeds.

One we get the extra content into the feeds, then we have to educate the world about RSS (or whatever we ultimately decide to call it), then we have to teach the average web surfer how to use an aggregator, then we have to…. You get the picture.

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