When I went and checked out the latest Blog Reader Survey responses (http://weblog.blogads.com/comments/P1000_0_1_0/) here:
http://www.blogads.com/survey/2005_blog_reader_survey.html, one thing that caught my eye is how few people use RSS (and prsumably other feeds) to check on blogs. And I think that is wonderful. People have their bookmarks and blogrolls and they surf and browse and go from one blog to the next though the link to another and yet another blog "by hand" and who knows where they'll end up. That is how I do it and I love it. If you check the updates on your aggregator of choice, all you get are the same opinions by the same people you liked three years ago. You miss out on good new blogs and fresh opinions. At least sometimes, perhaps once a week, go on a wild surfing trip across the blogosphere and get ready to be surprised.
Dave Johnson writes:
Bora: that's crazy. I would never have read your blog entry if not for my newsreader and your Atom newsfeed. There is simply no way that I can follow the blogs I want to follow without a newsreader. I still surf around occasionally, but mostly just to find interesting new newsfeeds (like yours).
Ian Landsman responds:
Dave Johnson has a post replying to a post by Bora Zivkovic on a survey that says most blog readers don’t read blogs via RSS/Atom. Bora suggests that’s good, Dave thinks it’s crazy.
I fall on the side of crazy, but not that the visitors are crazy but the technologists. The reason people don’t use RSS outside of the tech community is because they have to think about it. You have to understand it and people don’t like thinking about technology. Heck even the term RSS is an acronym and regular people HATE technology acronyms.
The first company that figures out how to effectively explain or make transparent the use of RSS is going to make some big $$$$. I wonder if the only organizations with enough clout to do it are the OS vendors themselves?
I am glad I opened a can of worms. Provoking discussion - isn't that what blogs are for? Actually, I think Ian (and his commenters) have put a finger on something real: for us techno-idiots, RSS and other stuff like that is like naming all Spanish villages - incomprehensible. Not everyone is a technogeek, and the applications need to be designed for my grandmother to use, not just Dave Johnson or Dave Winer. Blogging is not about technology, it is about content, and I want my 11-year old son, and my 73-year old mother to blog easily and fearlessly.
Actually, I subscribed to Bloglines and placed a few blogs on there. Well, perhaps I am even more of a techno-idiot than I thought, but the thing is not working - I do not get notified about any updates. Perhaps some local techno-geek can help me set it up right - in which I case I would use it, though not 100% of my blogsurfing would begin there - but in the meantime I will happily follow my bookmarks and blogroll links and click on the links to the links to the links and enjoy wherever the journey takes me. Perhaps people who think of blogging as journalism are more likely to want a feed than people who blog for different reasons.