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Why Topical Feeds Are The Future of RSS

Posted By Darren Rowse 22nd of January 2005 RSS 0 Comments

Read/Write Web has an interesting post predicting that the killer application for RSS will be to track Topic/Tag/Remix Feeds rather than to track individual blogs or news sources.

‘One of the reasons I think this may eventuate is that blogging is and always will be a minority sport (as I’ve referred to it in the past). The killer app for RSS probably won’t be geared towards the current ranks of bloggers and geeks. When RSS hits it big, it’ll be because ‘normal’ people start using it – your Mom and Dad, Frank from Marketing, Jessie from Payroll, Dave from the local dairy. They won’t be bloggers. They won’t be interested in writing or podcasting or anything like that. All they’ll want to do is track news and trends that are relevant to them.

Tools will evolve to let people easily set-up personalized searches for information relevant to them and subscribe to the results – using, you guessed it, RSS! Google will probably be the front-runner (see this video for a hint to the future – thanks twdanny for the reminder), PubSub will be another, current players like Bloglines and Technorati will be in amongst it, and who knows who else.’

If my own personal use of RSS feeds is anything to go by I think Richard is onto something here. You see I use Bloglines as much for tracking topics as I do to track specific news sources. For instance I have a search feed for ‘digital camera review’ which points me to numerous relevant articles each day. I also track a variety of Topix categories using RSS. Of course this is partly because I’m sourcing information for my blogs – but when I tell non blogging friends (and I do have a couple who do not blog) about RSS and how they could track news on their personal interests they are generally fascinated. They have no interest in tracking blogs (even mine!) but if they could find the latest information on their passions they will get themselves a news aggregator as quick as.

I suspect that RSS will always be used to track individual news sources (I’ll always do it) but topical tracking is certainly an area that will boom.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. I strongly disagree. Topical blogs and news sources are the future, not feeds.

    I’m sure for every good article that comes up in your topical feeds there are 5 that are no good, repeats, or whatever. You choose the best and post it. And that’s why topical blogs are better. People want a human editing what they read so they don”t waste time on nonsense or repeats

  2. you could be right Hashim – I suspect it will be a bit of both depending on how RSS readers develop. If they could develop one that filters results or ranks them depending on how many people read them, the news source etc etc maybe topical ones would be more popular….

    i guess we’ll find out.

  3. The more sources there is, the more content there is, the better content must be classified.
    Both topical blogs and topical feeds are the future.
    They don’t enter in conflict because they correspond to 2 different uses and to a same need.

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