If you read this blog, by now, you probably know that we’re convinced that RSS feeds are amazing and can solve a huge number of common issues faced by today’s web: decentralization, open-ness, privacy… etc.
Yet, you also probably know that the RSS world has been under attack for the last couple years. These attacks are the consequence of business strategies that aim at centralizing data, but they’re also the result of the weaknesses of RSS feeds. Next month, on June 16th, in New York, we will be participating to a “Reboot Feeds” workshop to help the RSS ecosystem fix these issues.
I have had discussions in the past couple weeks with several people who either publish RSS feeds or consume them at wide scale. Here are 2 of the issues they highlighted and that I believe the RSS community should address.
As feeds are decentralized it’s really hard for a publisher to understand how the data in the feed is consumed. Yet, this is key, because feed publishers can (and will) increase the quality of their feeds once they have a better understanding of how they’re being consumed and what are the benefits for providing them.
We have to understand that one of the key benefits of using closed environments like Twitter or Facebook is that publishers get actual data in terms of followers, visibility, reshares… etc. The feed readers need to report these numbers as well for publishers to invest in their feeds.
Subscribing to an RSS feed is almost impossible from a mobile web browser. When we consider that more and more people use their phones to explore more and more of the web, we need RSS to come up with simple solutions.
These days, there are follow buttons everywhere. RSS needs to have its own follow button. It needs to be open, decentralized and yet simple to use. We came up with SubToMe, but more people may be working on even better solutions. Let’s keep iterating and make sure these buttons are everywhere!
Of course, there are many other concerns, like the use of JSON, the ability to display much richer content, the support for more enclosures, things like webmentions… etc. Please, blog about these problems and let’s get the discussions started so we can work on solution at Reboot RSS.