The martial art of emailing

RSS : A tool for only 11% of web users ?

rss I have recently read the forester research on RSS where I was not surprised to see that only 11% of online adults use RSS.

Every time I have asked the question more than 80 % of the people answered that they just did not know what  a RSS was (Last week only 1 person out of 15 answered that he knew what a RSS is and is using it regularly). Is RSS then reserved for web geek’s ?

One can guess that the RSS usage for work purposes is significantly lower since its usage on the web is already only of 11%. The reason is certainly to be found in the poor information workflow in place inside most companies. The benefit of a RSS inside an enterprise is however obvious, it would allow  compiling multiple content sources, easily publish corporate News, collaborate within project teams …

Imagine a perfect company where you would be able to subscribe to RSS feeds corresponding to your your area of expertise. Every time somebody post an information, store a document, or resolve an issue in your field of activity, a feed could “come to you”. you would  then be kept up-to-date with the latest development in your area of expertise and the info would come to you because you have decided it and not because somebody may have thought that you would be interested.

Does email newsletters are then obsolete inside a Enterprise ? Not really, Newsletters are most of the time nice graphical publications from the management which need to be published to every employees and not only to people who wants it. However, some departmental email Newsletter which contains just a summary of the week activities could easily be replaced  by a RSS feed allowing then to reduce the email load of people who are  not concerned by those activities.

You have to make the difference between your inbox and your RSS reader. In your mailbox, you receive tasks, newsletters, appointment, “pushed” info… Your RSS reader is an info stream manager that could help reducing the email overload. However, before that can be done information must be organised inside the company and workplaces have to be defined for team projects. the RSS is just the icing on the cake.

To finish my post here are some criteria to consider when choosing a RSS Reader :

  • Online or Offline usage ?
  • Distinct the read or unread feeds
  • Do we need to create an account ?
  • For Web feeds or intranet feeds ?
  • Possibility to import/export OPML
  • Notification windows ?
  • Smart feed/ watches feasibility
  • Limit in the number of feeds (some reader are limited)
  • Grouping/organising feeds (merging feeds in a aggregated view)
  • Do you need a mobile version ?

Some RSS readers :

2 Responses to “RSS : A tool for only 11% of web users ?”

  1. Susan Scrupski

    Hi Sebastien and Happy Holidays to you! I have been partial to Netvibes, wondering why they didn’t make your list? Like I said on Twitter, I just imported (via OPML) all my blogs to Google reader to see if that would make a difference in my RSS consumption.

    I’m finding, these days, I use Twitter to flag “don’t miss” blog posts, as either a conversation kicks up or one of my Twitter friends alerts me to a new post in my stream. Even Tim O’Reilly (Mr. Web 2.0) weighed in with similar thoughts.

    That being said, there are other great reasons to love RSS. For instance, I can get updates from social platforms I subscribe to via RSS, as well as put RSS widgets (like from Newsgator) on my blog.

    In general, I think you’ll find the masses of non-2.0 folk, don’t know what RSS is. If we keep up the good work of evangelizing these great tools, eventually everyone will find these tools as valuable as we do.

    Great blog, btw. I’ll add you to my RSS reader (both of them!) ;-)


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