Scoble argues that RSS’s importance isn’t in how many people are using it, but who those people are.
He’s right, but the other point to make is that RSS isn’t mainstream yet. Email and the web are mainstream, but took years to catch on with the general public, even after being widely available. RSS is widely available, but only used by a minority of the general online population.
That will change, as the tools used by the great unwashed pick up and highlight RSS functionality. That’s not Newsgator or Firefox, but IE and Windows.
It’ll change as the influential early-adopters persuade others.
And it’ll change as the standard is sorted out — not just the XML, but how it’s advertised — that orange button needs to be ubiquituous, just like “www” and “.com” in URLs are now.
So if your site doesn’t support RSS now, it’s important to get it doing so very very soon.
RSS? Bah, that ought to be a thing of the past, to be superseded by pubsub (JEP-60), which works over Jabber. The advantage of pubsub is that it involves far less load on the server as it doesn’t involve clients constantly polling the web server. As for the user, they get the updates more instantaneously as they don’t have to wait for their client to refresh its feeds.
I think you need to also consider that people use the technology without realising it, in the same way that people read blogs without realising they are blogs. I don’t concur with Scoble, so I’m on your side, generally, but I believe the stats to be accurate because they exclude Yahoo and Google, and whilst Google might not be mainstream yet My Yahoo has been for a long time.
Jeremy, doesn’t pubsub use RSS to gather the stuff it sends out?
Good point Duncan; very good point. Most RSS users shouldn’t realise they’re using it.
Daniel, pubsub.com and some other implementations might use RSS to gather stuff though the idea is that stuff will be sent out through pubsub directly. So when posting to a blog, you’d send something through pubsub. Though I must admit that pubsub is still quite bleeding edge so there aren’t many implementations. Though eventually I’m sure that blogging software such as wordpress will implement it and this might be enough to make it catch on.
Interesting, thanks Jeremy. You’re right, it’ll need to get some momentum in terms of implementation before it takes off.