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"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. How do we define this lively darting about with words, of hitting them back and forth, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be conversation?" Guy de Maupassant

Saturday, December 6, 2003

RSS - the Next Big Thing

Here's a must-read for anyone interested in the future of the Web - Nova Spivack's article, The Birth of "The Metaweb" -- The Next Big Thing -- What We are All Really Building. [link via isen.blog]. 

He describes "push and pull" factors for the rise of RSS - email's "rapidly eroding signal-to-noise ratio" the push ... and the rise of weblogging the pull factor.  Businesses that get in quick- both in terms of providing rss feeds and in subscribing to them, will have the edge.

Some excerpts (bold is mine) :

" .....RSS is poised to become The Next Big Thing. There are many reasons for this -- for one thing, e-mail is no longer useful as a content distribution, alerting and marketing medium. E-Mail's rapidly eroding signal-to-noise ratio is leading content providers and end-users to seek alternative, more mutually-effective avenues for interacting with one another. Another force that is driving RSS adoption is the rise of Weblogging.

My projections indicate that within 5 years almost every Weblog will provide an RSS channel of its content. In coming years a large percentage of consumers and professionals are expected to begin blogging -- Weblogs are the new homepages; everyone should have one.

Within 5 years, if RSS grows as I expect, we will see it supplant e-mail as the primary alerting and marketing channel for "B2C" communications. To put it simply, businesses and their customers both benefit from interacting via RSS instead of e-mail for "1-way" interactions such as content publishing, notifications, etc. Based on that, I predict that every medium to large corporate Web site and every major publication and wire service, as well as an increasing number of enterprise applications and services will publish and subscribe to numerous RSS channels. Already we see the beginning of this with numerous major organizations embracing RSS from IBM, Microsoft and Sun to The New York Times, ABC News and WIRED to name a few examples.

So, 30 million bloggers at 1 feed each + 2 milllion small, medium and large businesses at an average of 20 feeds each + 2 million web sites and information services providers at an average of 10 feeds each + 10 major portals and online services at an average of 1,000,000 feeds each + 100 million desktop and enterprise applications producing 1 feed each .... you can see where this is headed. To be conservative let's assume that the numbers turn out to be less than what I project -- that is still 50 million to 100 million feeds online within 5 years. And that's a growth curve that looks a lot like the first wave of the Web. Just as everyone "had to have" an e-mail account and a Web page, they will also soon need and want to have an RSS reader and their own RSS channel. That's a big opportunity"

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