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Blogging Enterprise Consensus: RSS Is Plumbing

Steve Rubel
Expert Author
Published: 2005-11-02

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Here are my notes from a panel on the enterprise use of RSS, from the Blogging Enterprise conference.

The main takeaway is that RSS is really going away because it will simply become plumbing like SMTP.

Partcipants:
Sachi Gahan, CenterPoint Ventures (moderator)
Matt Mullenwegg, CEO & Founder, WordPress
Greg Reinacker, CTO & Founder, Newsgator
Stuart Watson, Founder, Syndicate IQ
Charlie Wood, Principal, Spanning Partners

* Sachi says there are four considerations for building enterprise RSS ecosystems: produce (e.g. what content to produce), managing/marketing the content, the experience, analyzing the results - e.g. making sure the end customers are responding.

* Sachi asks for a definition of RSS. The group is slow to respond, prompting her to say "Bueller, Buelller." Reinacker jumps in and says that "RSS is plumbing." His point is that no one will care about RSS in the future because it will be embedded in other services.

* Reinacker talks about how the Pinto brand eroded during the 1970s and compares it to the Kryptonite bike lock episode. Now a brand is destroyed in a matter of days. "Going to Google isn't going to cut it...When something that dramatic happens at 2:00 wouldn't you want to know about it at 2:15?" Greg, why not 2:01?

* Several of the panelists say they're in the "Kingdom of Greg" when they are asked what reader they use. Now that's an interesting phrase. Greg is the new Google?

* Mullenweg is asked what should people be looking for in an authoring tool. Matt says that he's going to let us in on a secret: "blogging is a trick to get all of (corporate) web sites to stop sucking." Good sound-bite Matt! He says to have a tech guy install them all in the enterprise to try them out.

* Sachi says inability to measure results is slowing corporate adoption. Watson recommends using the Web analytics package to monitor clickbacks. More tools will come along for RSS.

* Wood says when thinking about RSS in the enterprise, think about information that will keep you up to date.

* Sachi asks what other areas in the enterprise should be RSS enabled. Watson advises launching corporate portals using RSS to track industries. Mullenweg disagrees. Says been there, done that. He says add value - e.g. commentary, not just links. "People want filters. Save people time." Reinacker sees RSS as a replacement for mailing lists, to generating feeds out of the collaboration system.

* Sachi: where is enterprise RSS heading in two years? Reinacker: RSS and all of the acronyms will disappear. Just like SMTP. He sees a future in subscription based content on internal corporate portals that follows you around. Wood says RSS is going to disappear. Tools for subscribing will be ubiquitous, while niche dedicated tools crop up that are RSS-enabled, e.g. widgets.

* What about Google and Microsoft: "Google, Yahoo and Microsoft create a market for this stuff. People subscribe to content and they're not worried about RSS. For Newsgator, it's great that we provide toools that go above an beyond what Microsoft does." Mullenweg says that Yahoo Mail and Hotmail have hundreds of users, yet there's still a market for email products.

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About the Author:
Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.

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