RSS dry

So I’m hooking up a module to publish an RSS feed for the sake of virality, and it strikes me that RSS should be more fun.

I still subscribe to feeds here and there, but I find Twitter, Facebook, Techmeme, whole blogs, personal email, and mailing lists are more urgent twitches. There’s something about the feed reader interaction that’s barren and dry. You want more human pathos in an app.

But maybe that’s just the style of my feed reader, Google Reader. Techmeme is a feed reader in some ways and it’s much more lively.

7 thoughts on “RSS dry

  1. I’ve been using google home for several years now, with about 10 tabs, 10-12 rss feeds on each. It’s like a customized newspaper I can check out each day, complete with comics, food and music reviews. I recently consolidated a number of blogs that I read/get updated frequently to a single favourites tab, though, and I tend to ignore the other tabs now.

    One plus of this approach is that I can take a planet I follow like planet.olpc or planet.xml, and follow the planet’s stream as well as the individual streams that feed into it. That way, even if a number of posts hit the planet in a short span of time, I don’t lose sight of posts over time.

    Facebook, on the other hand, does very little for me. For all the applications etc, it strikes me as “not fun”.

  2. So a tab is a group of feeds organized around a theme?

    I think I’ll check out planets again. It didn’t grab me before, but now it seems promising.

  3. Have you seen Snap, the Syndicated Next Action Pattern? It was this great concept that Matt Webb put together for how to make RSS feeds more interactive by including forms with items so that users could alter and respond to whatever is being syndicated. It was meant for things like managing bug trackers, but I bet you could figure out a way that would be more community/fun based. Here’s Webb’s post on Snap and a video demonstrating a concept implementation called Dentrassi

  4. For instance, I have a tab called OLPC, on which I have the feed for, and I also have the rss feeds for ivan krstic’s blog, who built the security layer for the olpc, walter bender’s blog, anne gentle’s justwriteclick blog, who wrote the help documentation for the laptop; I’ve also got a twitter search for the last 20 mentions of “olpc”, which turns up some interesting things. Once it’s set up, it runs itself. I’m not a fan of all things google, but I have found iGoogle to be very useful.

    The share functionality is stupid though – as far as I can tell, I can email a tab to someone, or something? Anyways.

    I have a book of collected documents from paris during the student strikes in 1969 which contains a facsimile of a pamphlet describing how to fold newspapers and place them under the shoulders of your jacket for added protection during riots. This is one thing you can *not* do with RSS ;)

  5. just watched the Snap demo. It’s a little discomforting to see that level of interactivity in RSS. It does feel more lively and personal.

    Maybe the issue is that the genre of blogging is relatively stiff and formal.

  6. You’ve also gotta imagine using SNAP for something less dry. Like not a business workflow, but to add some kind of interactivity to a blog. What if you had an RSS feed where readers had to write something in order to read what you (and others) had written?

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