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Why people are not into RSS readers

Don Browning Answers to a post by Robert Scoble about the amount of bloggers at MS:

“Well Robert, over here at Turner (BTW, don't know if I've ever said it publicly but I work for Turner Broadcasting), we have 3 bloggers... Thats it... 3.  Heck, I can't even get most of the developers I work with to read blogs, much less publish content ..“

I hear ya. I'm in exactly the same situation and I bet others are hopelessly trying to do the same at other places.
I think it has to do with the fact that blogs are still not that accessible. RSS readers are not mainstream. They are the "Linuxes" of today's data clients (Outlook being windows).
The moment Outlook express or Outlook is fitted with a built in RSS client, and sites will  *really publish* the fact that they are available through RSS - then you'll start having people listen to you.

Actually all this will happen when we stop talking about “RSS” and start calling it a more people friendly name. How about "Skinny mode"?

 "This site is available in skinny mode. Just press *this* link here” and outlook will pop up asking if you'd like to subscribe to this site. That should be it. perhaps one can get this level of friendliness today, but you have to install an "RSS reader". You might as well have asked people to install an "SMTP packet sniffer" - sounds just as terrifying if you have no idea what both do.

Actually, thinking about it some more, it does not apply only to less technical people. It applies to very technical people as well. Here's an example: A couple of months ago Yosi taguri in a big conference to about 400 people. In this conference he had a lecture, at the end of which he showed the .NetWeblogs up on the big screen and talked on and on about all the benefits one can get from visiting this site daily.

A few days later I started seeing some traffic from Israel reading my blog. It wasn't much. mind you. Perhaps 5-20 page views a day from Israeli ISPs. A few weeks later, wer'e back at almost the same place - almost no Israeli traffic what so ever. Why is that? I was talking to one of the people in the user group the other day about some technical matter which I have recently posted about. When I told him “I blogged about it yesterday” he replied that yeah, he knows my site and the whole .net blogger world, but he feels as though its a waste of time. He usually looks in MSDN for problem solving but that's it.

He's not the only one I encountered that knows about the RSS thing but does not do anything about it. Why is that? These people that I'm talking about now are very technical, and they care about learning new stuff. But using an RSS reader today is almost “taboo”. It's so new and so not easy to use and so not readily available that you have to work really hard and really know what you're looking for to get an RSS reader. In fact - I remember one of the first first posts I ever made in my blog (about 7 months ago):

RSS feeds are not for newbies, but should be

Seems like nothing much has changed since then, Only better RSS readers and more available syndications, but it's still not for the average user (technical as they may be). I think the only people who read blogs(and other things) via RSS readers are those who , other than tech knowledge, have something else in common, although I can't define it.

The other (and majority) crowed that reads these blogs just hists the page name in their browser several times a day. That's good enough for most people right now. Hopefully - it will change soon.


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