Wishlists – More bloggers, more RSS and more rss evangelists

(Ssssh I’m not really here, remember.)

This post is totally reworked from a draft post I wrote just after the 2006 Irish Blog Awards. A good deal has happened since but the pace of change and adoption of blogging and RSS hasn’t been fast enough in my view. While it’s not quite the time for a year in review, this is kind of one. I think so far in 2006 we saw a lot more business bloggers join into the Irish Blogging Community and a heck of a lot of politicians joining in too, thanks in large part to the Labour party who really do seem like they want to be part of this new way of communicating.

In July 2005 Tom Raftery had a post about Irish CEOs blogging and it would be nice to re-examine this because they still are the exceptions in this country.

At the start of 2006 I put a list of things I’d like to see for 2006. I never actually made this public. The list was:

  • At least one political party with a blogging policy in place and the ability for their councillors, senators and TDs to start a blog from the party’s main site. Additionally their news section should have RSS feeds.
  • At least one telco/ISP with one of their top people blogging and interacting with customers. Maybe Irish Broadband can address the 100s of complaints about their service with such a blog? Maybe BT Ireland’s head of billing can interact with the public and address the catastrophic failures of theirand again all their news available as RSS.
  • At least one Newspaper editor blogging and interacting with the public.
  • At least one Irish Football Club Chairman blogging and doing podcasts.
  • I’d like to see the majority of job sites running RSS feeds. If they won’t we’ll just do it for them.
  • I’d like to see movie reviews on Entertainment.ie offered in RSS format.
  • I’d like to see the majority of PR companies have staff blogging.

Some things have happened like FF, SF and Greens with RSS feeds and some have remained the exact same. I believe one of the journalists from one of the broadsheets is going to start blogging very soon. I know another journalist who’s blogging (though anon for now) but not about the stuff they cover at work.

Just to stress this, I do not think everyone should be blogging and I do not think that blogging should be hyped as the be-all and end-all for everything. I do think however that most websites should have RSS feeds. I would very much like to see the benefits of blogging and RSS made clear and that people should be given the opportunity to see them. A recent chat with a junior Minister turned to blogging and they said “Everyone keeps telling me to blog but my web people said it was a waste of time.” Jesus! Maybe a cheat sheet is needed about what use blogging is and what use it is not.

Should more be done to promote blogging and RSS?

I guess on one hand you can take the viewpoint “tough”, if they don’t want to know about blogging and RSS feeds then it’ll be their loss or maybe stop pushing this on people if they don’t want/need it, but on the other hand, the more people that use blogs and RSS the better for breaking down the barrier between people and between consumers and producers. A lot of the time when you explain what it can do, people want to try it. Lots of people have told me they’d love to blog, they’d love to get their story out there but they’re not technical enough or need to wear armbands for a little while.

How would you go about promoting RSS and blogs more? The press of late is really taking notice of blogs and using them for sourcing stories or taking something on a blog and expanding it. That’s one area. Do you target the general web population or go for the key influencers in a group? Before Shel Israel and Robert Scoble signed their book deal they got their publisher to start a blog and perhaps in areas where we can influence people, we could do the same.

Who are the influencers in the business community? Hit the PR companies, the PR/Marketing/Corp people in the big companies and the tech people who build the sites? Those that build websites nowadays that have a news and press section without RSS feeds, should we smack them over the head? Should we teach journalists so that they use RSS feed aggregators and get them to ask those distributing the press releases to have them in an RSS feed? Should we encourage them to post the stories their editors rejected and might have been confined to the dustbin due not to bad quality but simply down to space restrictions? How does one evangelise RSS and blogging in Ireland?

10 Responses to “Wishlists – More bloggers, more RSS and more rss evangelists”

  1. Tom Raftery says:

    I’ve been wondering the same thing Damien. I ran the first Business Blogging event in Ireland in June 2005 through it@cork.

    I ran a couple of RSS events there too.

    I ran a Blog Training course (which was over-subscribed – we’ll be running another one early in 2007).

    I have written many articles on Business Blogging including a long post on the advantages of blogging for business.

    I have given seminars and consulted directly to businesses.

    I dunno, maybe it is me – maybe I’m turning them off blogging 😉

    Seriously though, if you have any ideas of what else I could be doing, I’d love to hear them.

  2. Rob says:

    Of course, given any well-structured web page, one can produce an RSS feed of that page. Now, obviously you couldn’t re-distribute that RSS feed. An interesting project would be a local RSS gateway with a domain specific language defining rules for deriving RSS; if you wanted an RSS feed for Site X, you’d simply download the appropriate definition, and your gateway would make one.

  3. Keith says:

    And in addition to job sites, right now I’m wishing the likes of daft.ie provided feeds of their search results so I could track when something promising comes up for rent.

    Rob, that’s just the kind of thing that Syndic8 have been doing for a fair while now: scraping pages and turning them into newsfeeds.

  4. I think we’ll see a huge uptick in the availability of RSS feeds in 2007 with the mainstream launch of IE7 and Vista.

  5. It’s better to insist upon newsfeeds than blogging. But we know one yields the other.

    We should make a red-yellow-green rating system for newsfeeds served by public bodies. Make one of the measures of accessiblity be RSSification.

    Podshow Plus incorporates very clever RSS feeds for all sorts of audio-visual media. It’s as though you’re able to produce your own playlists from what sits inside the Podshow network.

    On BT Broadband, these RSS feeds are like being able to create your own Electronic Programme Guide. EPGs aren’t feared as too-technical by most people. If we can make all RSS as fluffy as non-intimidating as a television remote, we’re going to see bigger uptake.

  6. This might sound like a slightly sad question, but what about websites and great web design? Will RSS be the end of all that?

  7. Newsfeeds are an essential element of good web design because there is no way a site is well-designed if it does not feed its audience. If a site has a feed, it offers a well-oiled, instantly accessible channel for the impaired.

    I believe we need to red card those whose sites use public monies to cloak content behind their designs.

    I believe Irish bloggers should be educated in the techniques of ego-surfing, pingback listening and tag tracking.

    Listen to your back channels and learn.

  8. Sure, I agree fully. But the gist of my question is do people think that in the future good design will become redundant because sole purpose will be to feed content?

  9. Damien says:

    I think good design will always be very important and I think RSS should be a design consideration for those that just want information without the thrills and frills. A good design might get you to a site but the RSS feed might be what has you subscribe to the site and keep you revisiting it.

  10. http://entertainment.ie/rss/movie_reviews.asp

    is an RSS feed for the movie reviews on Entertainment.ie…..