RSS – Marketers Take Note

I just read an interesting post from Seth Godin about Google and someone wishing that it didn’t exist. Not sure I really understood his point (still on today’s first cup of coffee).
But something further in his post made me think a bit. He talks about RSS and how it should be added into sites everywhere. I tend to agree. The promise of RSS is pretty powerful, and not just for headlines. I was on the other day and noticed that I could now subscribe to someone’s personal wish list. Guess I can now be notified when friends or family members add the latest book or DVD to their lists.
One problem, though, with this trend of “RSSing” everything. I’ve gotten pretty overwhelmed by all of the content. For example, I haven’t opened my newsreader in a few days. When I did so today, I was behind on something like 700 posts. Steve Rubel’s blog, for example, had over 200 posts that I had yet to read. Frankly, I don’t know how anyone keeps up with this guy!
It occurred to me that RSS needs to ‘deepen.’ Perhaps it already has, but noone’s bothered to tell me. Let me explain what I mean…
RSS should enable a content creator to prioritize his/her content. For example, Steve’s post that IceRocket has been acquired is probably higher priority than his quick tip about Flickr. Why not allow a content author to prioritize posts (ranging from urgent to trivial). This would allow me, as a reader, to be able to cut to the chase after a long vacation. To some degree content categories allow me to segment my subscriptions, but I’m not sure that most authors (or subscribers) think of it this way.
I love the move toward more active/dynamic content, but how do we help people to manage the information overload?

About Matt Certo

Matt Certo is founder and CEO of Findsome & Winmore, a digital marketing agency based in Orlando, FL. He is also the author of FOUND: Connecting with Customers in the Digital Age and Formulaic: How Thriving Companies Market from the Core.


  1. jharr

    In general do you really want authors deciding what is most important? I think tags and keywords allow users to create “smart lists” that gather and flag items intelligently, I don’t know that there needs to be another layer beyond that. We should let the tools do their job and process the entries based on your preferences and others can do the same. That way the people who care more about the Flickr tip than the acquisition are happy as well.
    I’m always a little jittery when people talk about altering the RSS itself when there are some great tools that let you take full advantage of the simple format that exists. The more we bolt on to RSS the more messy it becomes.

  2. Christian Pearce

    Priority is to subjective. I also doubt it will make it into the necessary RFC anytime soon. What we need are smart RSS readers. I too am overwhelmed. If the RSS feeder can figure out what I like and don’t like then it can prioritize for me.

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