SansBlogue  
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
 
Web 2.0 and the Evils of RSS ::

For a while now I've been puzzled and puzzling over that "Web 2.0" slogan. Just what is the Web 2.0 that the gurus keep talking about? How does it differ from what we've had these last 10-15 years? The hardware is the same - pretty much, though it would have been nice in the 90s to have had broadband and wireless for the last few miles and feet like we often do today! (I'm assuming that Web 2.0 does not mean the new high speed Internet that is providing research institutions with much higher data rates, but refers to some quantum leap in the experience that "ordinary people" have with the web.)

On the 'plane from LA to Chicago, back on Friday, I listened to a really good BBC interview with Tim O'Reilly (of O'Reilly publishing) first in the cut down Go Digital programme format, and then in the "full version" they also podcast. Web 2.0 - according to Tim O'R - is all about taking and responding to user input and data. The Web 1.0 version of this is why - new kid with no pedigree - Amazon beat - established bookseller - Barnes and Noble. It explains the rise of Google - who understood that a useful search engine is not about indexing content like Yahoo or AltaVista (remember them) had done, but about spotting what people, web users, recognize as meaningful links (Page Rank).

It also explains the flogging phenomenon - build on user data and input - and so the importance of RSI and so why around the coffee stations of the Internet RSI (and pitchstone, RSI for MP3 files) are all the buzz.

But does it?

For blogs at least RSI works to deliver me the new posts from the blogs I like into my feed reader, so I read them together, in categories that make sense to me. So each time I log on I get the option to read the new posts from the Bibliobloggers, or the Emergent Church, or the tech's that I have found and like. No more trudging round a list of bookmark to see if Mark, or Paul, or Jim (always) have a new post, if they have it's there in my reader, waiting for me.

Which is great for the blog consumer, less work, less time. It's great for the blog author - at least those who are part of a circle (coterie) because now when Mark or Rick (I agree with whoever said "Rico" is such a cool name!) or Tyler want to comment on something I've posted they will write a post that links to mine, bumping up the Google Page Rank (see above) and so my prominence.

BUT, these same "benefits" of RSI that make it so Web 2.0 (and there is lots I've missed out here) also mean that I get comments like the one below - from an anonymous online reader, who echoes what some real life readers have asked - "does anyone ever post comments?" Well it's because AKMA or Peter or Jim no longer (usually) post a comment on the blog, they write a post on their own blogs. So does RSI (as the only technology from the Web 2.0 bundle that I - partly - understand) make Web 2.0 more relational or does it merely allow the Amazons to "personalize(*) " my web "experience"?



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