Monday, May 10, 2021

RSS as a change agent

RSS as a change agent


RSS as a change agent


To better understand how RSS is changing the way companies and people deliver and consume content on a macro scale, let's first remember how content is traditionally delivered and consumed.

People subscribe to email newsletters or email update services to receive content directly in their inboxes. It is (or better yet, it was) convenient, easy and simple.

But, for the content to be delivered to their inboxes, they must first reveal their email addresses, which are basically identification numbers that allow anyone who knows how to send what they want to these identification numbers.


But this is not a perfect world.


Since the "identification number" allows anyone to communicate with someone, people have very little control over who actually contacts them and what information they send.

In a way, it is a "perfect democracy" that simply does not work. Because, in reality, we don't want to listen to everyone who thinks they have something to tell us. Actually, we just want to hear from a very limited circle of people and receive very limited types of content categories.

But, for the sake of the argument, suppose we are actually getting information only from the people we want to hear from. Unfortunately, these people still have the power to send us the information they want, not just the information we want to receive from them. Basically, they have the power to send any type of content to our email inboxes.

We can unsubscribe, if you provide us with this opportunity, from your email service or continue receiving your content as is. One of the problems with this is that canceling the subscription can be a rather tedious process, it is definitely not a matter of two clicks, and some people even doubt that the subscription cancellation function really works.

This is our reality.


We are, more or less, obliged to receive content that most of us do not want to receive, and for the content we do want to receive, we also have to support a lot of information that we do not want to obtain.

This is the "democratic" nature of email and many marketing and editorial specialists have been abusing it for a long time. It is not the fault of the medium, of course; It's just that people are who we are.

But there is more.


One of the features of this channel is that it is extremely easy to remove content publishers that you don't want to hear from.

Now, we all have a very limited time for online content consumption. It has always been that way, but with the consumption of email content, in general, we don't even bother to unsubscribe from the content we don't want to receive, since we still receive hundreds of SPAM emails per day anyway, then why? bothering to unsubscribe from some email lists and the few additional emails we receive per week. Most people don't even know what they subscribe to anymore, since they don't have a unified view of all their email subscriptions.

However, this new channel, RSS, is quite different. Here you have an exact view of what you are subscribing. You see exactly which content publishers are on your list and you can delete any of them immediately, without thinking twice. It is fast, easy and comfortable.

Compare this to the relative difficulty of unsubscribing from the email lists, and even to the email mentality where you no longer mind being bothered to unsubscribe anymore, since you don't have a vision of what You subscribe anyway.

This new channel eliminates democracy directly from content delivery to publishers and returns it to end users.

If RSS content publishers want to keep and increase their readership, they cannot afford to do things they could have been doing easily with email.

Instantly, all content must be highly relevant. You can no longer afford to send blatant advertising messages or too much content that is of little interest to your target audience. If you want to survive, you need to adapt all your content specifically to the needs of your target audience.

The delivery of RSS content must, by nature, be more relevant than the content sent by email.

RSS content publishers know this and most are providing exactly this, very relevant content, generally more relevant than what most email editors are doing, since they are taking into account the specific characteristics of the channel.

And there are more publishers like this every day. And eventually, even those who use email and RSS to deliver content change the way they deliver content via email. All your content production becomes more relevant to the user's needs.

It is quite easy to imagine the large-scale implications of this.

As more and more publishers are starting to offer more relevant content, that also raises the bar for other content publishers, even those who do not use RSS.

Our expectations are increasing every day. We are no longer content with mediocre content, we actually wait and even demand more relevance.


And so the circle is completed.


The first RSS publishers have begun to raise our expectations about what to expect from Internet content and, therefore, have affected our habits of Internet content consumption. In effect, users are beginning to demand more, which in turn forces other publishers to meet the growing demands.

This process has just begun and still has a long way to go, but it has begun and will not stop.