Home Remixing and Speculation on The Future of RSS

Remixing and Speculation on The Future of RSS

Amazon DevCon is happening right now and happily the Amazon Web Services Blog is blogging it in
“near-real-time” (hat-tip to Greg
for linking to it). I haven’t browsed through all the notes from day 1 yet,
but I feel compelled to post about Rael Dornfest’s speech on the subject of “remix:
beyond rip, mix, burn”. Some real gems in this…

–> Rael: “Remixing requires good source, inspiration, skill, trial and error,
magic, and some combinatorics.”

I had to look up ‘combinatorics’. The Wikipedia definition is too complex
(but no doubt correct). I like this simpler, user-friendly, definition of
: “The branch of mathematics dealing with the number of different ways
objects can be selected or arranged.”

–> Rael on data remixing:

“Remix your data. Scraping begat XML which begat APIs. Hacks led to standards which
led to business opportunity. Syndicated ecommerce. Google/Amazon/Alexa, Amazon/eBay for
buying and selling, etc.

Creative commons, Salesforce, Blogger/Typepad, Technorati, Feedster, Bloglines.
Delicious, feedburner, typekey. Glued with JavaScript, Perl, Python, PHP as glue.

Lesson: There are parts of the platform that you don’t have to own.”

–> The following has got to be the most concise attempt yet at explaining how blogging is
impacting on journalism (and there have been a lot of non-concise attempts!): “Blogging
[is] remixing journalism”

–> On RSS:

“RSS reinvented syndication, [it’s] not a remix. RSS is still an approximation of
something, not sure where it will go. Tiny compared to where it will be. Everyone
monetizes RSS. Perhaps a bubble already.”

–> Finally, here’s the speech in a nutshell:

“Rules for remixing:

* If it ain’t broke it soon will be

* Need to focus on why it is broken, how is not enough

* Look to the alpha geeks

* If you are an alpha geek, look to the consumer

* Remix even if you have no ear for music

* Keep it open and hackable

* Think of the end-to-end

* If it ain’t broke, it soon will be”

Information Remixing

Note that a lot of Rael’s speech referenced hacking, as befits a conference for Web
Services developers. But the highlights I’ve picked out are just as relevant to
Information Remixing, which is I guess my forte.

I frequently talk about remixing
(ref: a search of my blog
for the word “remix”
). For example, take this excerpt from a post I wrote nearly a year ago:

“We can mix and match RSS feeds as we (the “consumers”) see fit. Perhaps future
generations of tools like Blogdigger Groups will allow us to mix and match microcontent,
much like a DJ scratching a rap song on top of a Beatles melody.”

In 2005 we’re starting to see tools that make such remixing of data possible – and
that’s exciting. e.g. did you know that in PubSub
you can create custom RSS feeds using combinations of topics, people, sites, data
types, and other things.

Future of RSS – One Scenario

Here’s a prediction from me on the future of RSS: in the not too distant future, more
people will subscribe to topic/tag/remix feeds than feeds of actual people. Is
that a scary thought?

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