“…only 1 in 10 people have even heard of RSS, and a mere 2 percent actually use it. That’s a pretty lousy adoption rate for a technology which dates back to 1999.”
Does that mean that RSS is a bad idea? Certainly not. What it does mean, however, is that RSS just doesn’t cut it for most users. Is that really such a shocker? Did we really expect the non-geek world to get XML? It is like asking your mom to understand how her favorite show gets transmitted to the television. She doesn’t care about the pipes that deliver the content. She just needs to know how to use the TV so she can watch her show.
RSS is a pipe. People don’t want pipes, they want televisions. So what is the television for RSS? Widgets. Widgets are the user interface components encapsulating one, or more web services – like RSS. To quote my friend Chris McGill from Gannett, “Widgets are like graphical RSS.” And, like the television, widgets offer users simple interfaces they can understand. So although RSS may not become a day-to-day tool for users, it goes without saying that we will undoubtedly be seeing more of RSS and web services.