From RSS to Today

Is RSS dying? Quick answer: No

But RSS (Really Simple Syndication) has a lot more to compete with in 2010 than it did in 2005 when it took off.

In 2005, the advent of aggregators like Bloglines, Google reader, and even the über popularity of my.yahoo.com made RSS the best way to grow your reach as a blogger. If you could just get them to click that orange button– they’d get your blog post every time you published automatically!

RSS was king.

For a few years RSS was one of the easy measurement tools of blog power. As people visited a site for the first time they were more likely to subscribe to a blog if they knew say… 1034 other people already did. (And yes, tons of the names in the Christian blogosphere you know today got known simply because they figured out how to manipulate the Feedburner subscriber chicklet. They made it seems like they had tens of thousands when they really had about a hundred. Tricky, tricky. It was dirty but you bought their books. Sorry.)

In 2006, the apple cart began to get upset with the popularity of sites which sifted through thousands of relevant RSS feeds within a niche` and curated the niche` into a website. Power wasn’t just measured in your ability to have thousands of RSS subscribers… it became measured in your ability to get your conent brought to the front page. Sites like Boing Boing, TechCrunch, Huffington Post, and Mashable exploded simply by curating their respective niche`. (Imagine editors looking through tens of thousands of RSS feeds and choosing 10-12 things a day to link bait.) Interestingly, since that’s essentially what newspapers and television news folks do, these curators became recognized as legitimate news outlets within their sector. All because they subscribed to thousands of RSS feeds and started to bring the best stuff to the top. Along the way they earned more than your RSS subscription– they earned your trust.

In 2008 and gaining strength through today RSS has become less important. Why? We don’t need to have tons of content automatically sent to us via an aggregator. Nor do we need the big niche` sites to curate the conversation generally. Instead of subscribing to Mashable or Boing Boing or the New York Times, I monitor my friends feed on Facebook or Twitter. I allow them to go through their aggregators and allow them to be my curator. In other words… I read what my friends tell me to read because they thought enough of it to retweet it or recommend it to me on Facebook.

Here’s the new reality bloggers, news agencies, and marketers are wrestling with every day: We’ve gone from RSS to FFS.

What is FFS? I just made it up.

Friends and Fans Syndication: Delivering your content through relationship-based platforms.

Learn how to manipulate FFS and you will be king in 2011.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in the San Diego neighborhood of Rolando with their three children.

4 comments

  1. I think that is really true. While getting my subscriber numbers up is always something that is on my mind, lately I’ve been much more encouraged when a high school buddy tells me that they read it via facebook. Pretty fun and neat way for blogs to be meaningful and start a greater conversation.

    But maybe I say that because I don’t have 9000000000000 subscribers (yet!).

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