RSS in the UK is OK (but could be more A-OK)
RSS, or really simple syndication, has been on my mind a lot lately. While it’s been around for years and is increasingly made available on many major (and minor) web publications, it still hasn’t really cracked the “mainstream consciousness” in a way that technology products/services like, say, the iPhone have.
In other words, while RSS is all around us, it’s not really a household name. Yet.
That said, I still get irked when I’m not able to use RSS in ways that I want, when I want. For example, I read a truly sobering if not disturbing story about the plight of the global economy today, written by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard for the UK’s Telegraph. With the idea that I’d like to check in on the author’s headline’s in future, at the least, to perhaps see if any sunlight will ever crack the gloomy outlook, I looked around for an RSS feed of Evans-Pritchard’s work.
I didn’t find it. While there’s a page that aggregates all of the columnist’s work, there’s no direct RSS feed associated with it. There is a link to a page that does include a great many RSS feeds. However, it makes a mistake in my view that many large online newspapers make: it’s not organized all that well. While I can grab feeds for All News and Top News and Earth and Education and Blackburn and Liverpool, I can’t find what I want. There is an Opinion feed, but I’m not sure if that will even include Evans-Pritchard’s work and I’m not willing to take the time to wade through a feed to find it. Too much work, so sorry and off to other parts of the interwebs.
As an American, I’m not likely to check in with the Telegraph very often, let alone to self-navigate to Evans-Pritchard’s page to check in on how the whole crumbling of the world financial system is doing.
So it boils down to this: the Telegraph lost the potential for a long term customer by not offering a feed for a columnist’s work.
RSS has a come very great long way, but it’s interesting to look at how more traditional publishers are using it, such as with this case study I mention here. Overall though the power of RSS is quite great when utilized effectively.