Jon Udell launched into an interesting spiel around the 18 minute mark. He talked about some of the usage scenarios for RSS in the enterprise. Basically his point was that RSS is not just about collaboration, it's also an event-driven technology that can be used to monitor business processes. In Jon's words:
"...it [RSS] does play into product offerings that we will be seeing from the likes of Sun, IBM, Microsoft - and it's more than just person-to-person communication. It's process-to-person, process-to-process, it's event messaging, notifications."
Most bloggers (myself included) tend to natter on about the social aspects of RSS - collaboration, two-way communication and so forth. So I like the phrase "event network", because it emphasizes the time-driven aspect of RSS that is often overlooked in favour of the more glamourous social software angles.
Jon also noted that people can integrate and combine streams of content - for example, you could take a Feedster-indexed query and "make that query into another feed", or a del.icio.us tag could become "a feed that feeds into something else." This line of thinking complements my posts last week about topic/tag/remix feeds [post one, post two].
RSS Revenue Strategies
Rafat had some interesting things to say about how RSS is playing out in the marketplace. He mentioned that Feedburner has "yet to come out with a viable revenue strategy" - which I think he said to illustrate that the RSS/content business is still nascent and clear revenue streams have yet to emerge from it. As for his own business, Rafat said he hasn't yet sold RSS as a media option to his sponsors. He isn't sure about the "viability of RSS audience" - will it be a separate buy from the Web/email/etc audiences.
There was a bit of back and forth between the Gang and the guests about that old chestnut: are bloggers journalists? Also asked: are bloggers analysts? Stephen O'Grady's company Redmonk is styling itself as a new kind of Analyst service, meaning:
"Assimilating the most information possible from the most sources - and that means having as many conversations as possible.[...] you need transperency, you need a degree of open source, you need all the things that blogging and open source and everything else can provide."
Rafat said he is still a journalist, but he sees himself as "a quasi-analyst" these days - he "assimilates all this information", presents it as such and tries to make sense of it. But unlike a traditional journalist, he gives his point of view. Rafat is at the same time trying to build a media company, so he's also an entrepreneur.
Another fine Gillmor Gang production. If I may make a request, I'd love to see them snare an interview with Bloglines CEO Mark Fletcher and/or Feedburner's Dick Costolo. Or Technorati's Dave Sifry, or Scott Rafer from Feedster, or PubSub honcho Bob Wyman. I'm interested in the Gang exploring the emerging RSS marketplace some more.