Home Why Topic/Tag/Remix Feeds Are The Future of RSS

Why Topic/Tag/Remix Feeds Are The Future of RSS

To follow-up on my rather
bold prediction
for RSS in my previous post: “in the not too distant future, more
people will subscribe to topic/tag/remix feeds than feeds of actual people.” 

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.

But don’t get me wrong, conversations and people will still be important. It’s
just that if ‘normal’ people won’t be bloggers (one of my assumptions), then the
community aspects of the blogosphere won’t be so important to them. This doesn’t mean
they won’t subscribe to people – normal folk will find niche writers and
podcasters and so on and subscribe to them. But it’ll be far more convenient and useful
for a lot of people to subscribe to topic/tag/remix feeds and trust the tools to filter
the right information through to them, including content from niche bloggers. 

On this theme, David Smith from
wrote a post about the Google “nofollow” meme, which led him to

“Whatever this does for spam, it’s certainly got me thinking that the web is
heading towards greater separateness
, a position reinforced when I read (thanks,
Ian!) that ‘in the not too distant future, more people will subscribe to topic/tag/remix
feeds than feeds of actual people’ (Read/Write Web). Well, I’d rather seek out the
conversations, thank you,
and leave the computer puttering away in the background,
dribbling a modest number of topic/tag feeds whose purpose will be severely subordinated
to the primary thing that matters to me in my life, the relationships I have with other
(emphasis mine)

I replied in David’s blog that I didn’t mean to imply that conversations or people are
unimportant. On the contrary, topic/tag/remix feeds will make it even easier to
find the conversations that matter to you and indeed you are more likely to meet new people
and discover new points of view. Separateness is less of an issue with topic/tag/remix
feeds, than it is without them. Topic/tag/remix
feeds are more inclusive for all types of people (see this oldie but a goodie for more on this).


In 2005 in the blogosphere, RSS is a community-enabler. You find someone you like and
you subscribe to them, and conversations ensue. What I’m suggesting is that in the future
RSS will still be a community enabler, but by far its biggest use will be as a
means to subscribe to personalised news and other information important to the lives of
non-blogging people. Examples of the information I’m talking about: stocks, bank
statements, weather, information needed for one’s job, sports news, niche information
(the long tail), lots of other things we can’t predict yet 😉

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