Lisa gets Attention via OPML

I’m enjoying Lisa William’s OPML blog She ‘gets’ what I’m talking about re: OPML and Attention:

“For years I have wanted a decent wishlist software…

…I want to be able to easily make one for my kids with their clothing sizes and ages, and I want visitors to be able to take a “kidfile” with them to and have Amazon only display clothing and toys that are right for their age.

…So what is Attention? Attention is a way of storing data about your habits so that applications and websites you use get smarter. An example Alex gave is that if I had my attention.opml file from my RSS reader, I could load it at Amazon, and Amazon could recommend books to me based on what feeds and blog posts I spent the most time with.

More importantly, this data is both mine — it’s not locked up in somebody else’s web service — and it’s portable; I can move the OPML file around to different sites and apps and get new and different things from it. Attention.opml might be a prybar to pry my Amazon wishlist loose from Amazon.”

Here’s another OPMLish thought she shared:

“Now that I can get OPML out of search engines, what would happen if I could load OPML into search engines? Could such a search engine give me a huge constellation of feeds related to the ones I have for my Watertown, MA news site?”

This is another example of the Attention / OPML import idea. We do it with aggregators and feedreaders – import and export our OPML files. (Ideally we should just point to our OPML url – this way the OPML doesn’t get out of data as changes happen).  We publish them as blogrolls, too. The fact is our feedreaders have our OPML files and our OPML files have attention data within them today: they contain all the feeds you subscribe to (if you are using a reader / aggregator you have one, although you might not know it). Think about it – this is seriously *high value* stuff.  If you showed me your OPML I could tell a lot about you. What your interest are. What tags you are subscribed to. What saved searches you subscribe to. Which podcasts you are subscibed to. What news topics and bloggers you read. Which political views you gravitate toward. What local weather, which stocks, and sports team scores you’re tracking, and all the other RSS things. Wow…data-based marketers would *kill* for that kind of quality data (I know a few who would come close) – that you maintain, and prune and cleanse. For free…

But, alas, I don’t see the OPML import function on Amazon today.  Like Lisa, I’d like to. I’d love to see what would happen.  Could you imagine it? If done right, I think I’d buy more stuff. I’d arrive at Amazon, I’d import it (or part of it, or point to it or part of it…note: to get all this ‘mainstream’ you’d need to make all this Really Stupifyingly Simple – a serious UX challenge…), be rendered a relevent experience, buy, and then remove it (because remember folks, it is my data…).

Tags: Web 2.0, OPML, Attention