This new baby gig is making it hard to stay up late and blog, but I finally got around to trying out some RSS syndication software, and I can now safely say that I get it. I knew it was useful… it made sense, but I hadn’t really experienced how valuable it was until I tried it myself.
If you’ve never heard of RSS before, it’s really simple. I mean, it’s REALLY really simple, because RSS stands for Really Simply Syndication. That is, it’s a way for a site, any site, to provide a freeze-dried condensed version of what’s happened recently. I have one here at http://www.starchamber.com/index.rdf. Take a look at it to see what it looks like. It’s just an abbreviated XML version of my latest posts. But if you subscribe to the RSS feeds for a lot of interesting sites, it changes how you look at the web.
A few eons ago, during the Great Dot-Com Era, there were a number of companies trying to create “MyPage” personal newspaper sites (octopus.com is the only I can recall right now). They all failed. But the idea wasn’t fundamentally flawed. Something was off about the timing and the approach. RSS might change that. I use an RSS aggregator called Aggie (there are lots of others; see the bottom of this page). It works very well, and it lets me scan in one document the (new) daily content from a number of blogs, newspapers, and magazine sites. It’s a faster way to sift through lots of information, and it finally starts to deliver on the promise of the personalized newspaper.