If you love RSS…


So about all this
RSS vs. Feeds
naming brouhaha
, what can I say?

I love RSS.  I’ve been banging on about
RSS like a crazy
man for last two and half years
But emotions have no place in this debate. 
When I first heard about the
IE
team considering calling their new syndication feature ‘web feeds’
I have to
admit my heart sunk just a little.  I love RSS – I’m not exaggerating…I
actually have an emotional attachment to the brand – and that’s the problem.

I thought I’d sleep on it – read a few opinions, see where they took me (arguments for and against are compiled below). 
My conclusion is this: the arguments for the RSS name are emotionally driven and
its supporters are emotionally attached to the brand to the point that they’ve
lost sight of the end goal.

If you really love RSS and you want to give it the best possible chance of it
being used be the majority – not a minority – of web users, we have to use a
term that makes sense to non-geeks.  RSS is not that term.

For ‘RSS’, against
‘Feeds’
For ‘Feeds’, against ‘RSS’
We use MP3
players, CD players and DVD players.  Let’s call RSS what its is.

 

 

We use feed readers – these
feed readers use formats other than RSS.

Browsers are not called HTML viewers.  We
use email not a ISAPI/SMPT.

RSS is the
winning format
RSS is not the only format:
we have Atom, RDF, etc
Usual Microsoft
– embrace and extend…
Firefox and Opera browsers
call them live bookmarks, not  RSS.

Google news provides news ‘feeds’, via
RSS and Atom.

Yahoo and Bloglines call them Feeds. 

Everyone knows
it as RSS.  Why dumb things down for users?

If RSS is so popular, why does it need to be
fixed? If it’s too complicated, why is it so popular?

 

Less than 10% of web users
know what RSS is.  Those that know what RSS is today won’t un-know it by
calling them ‘Feeds’.

‘Feed’ is an
easier term to understand – more descriptive.

I’ll still use the RSS word, unless I’m
the company of my non-geek friends.

But I love RSS!!! 
I love the little orange logo!

 

So do I.  But that’s not a
good enough reason not to make syndication even easier.

RSS isn’t going away, it is becoming
invisible to the user, that’s all.

 

The following posts make the arguments above:

Update:


Comments (7)

  1. so what about "podcasts", now verboten in redmond. you call ’em blogcasts don’t you? well i guess that will need to be rebranded to feedcasting?

  2. MSDNArchive says:

    James, stop causing trouble 😉

    You can read my thoughts on pod/blog/screencasts here: http://blogs.msdn.com/alexbarn/archive/2005/07/12/438238.aspx

  3. MK says:

    ‘Less than 10% of web users know what RSS is.’

    That’s the crux though. It’s a vocal 10% of hard-core rss nuts that are getting upset. I don’t think that percentage will be much bigger b y the time Vista rolls out.

    MK

  4. Actually, I don’t think that it’s either/or. RSS (or Atom) is the brand name and feed (or news feed, or web feed) is the generic term. Like tissues and Kleenex, band-aids and whatever their generic name is, Frige (from Frigidaire) and refrigerator.

    Ellen Finkelstein

    Author, Syndicating Web Sites with RSS Feeds For Dummies

  5. So about all this RSS vs. Feeds naming brouhaha , what can I say? I love RSS. I’ve been banging on about RSS like a crazy man for last two and half years . But emotions have no place in this debate. When I first heard about the IE team considering callin