May 18, 2009

Has RSS Peaked?

Forrester Research published a report a few months back on the state of RSS feeds [see below for info on RSS feeds]. Forrester thinks that the numbers of users of this technology has topped out. According to Steve Rubel, blogging at Micro Persuasion
[T]he research entitled "What's Holding RSS Back?," says that nearly half of marketers have moved to add feeds to their web sites. Further, RSS adoption among consumers is at 11% up from just 2% of users three years ago.  [But] that might be all she wrote for RSS' growth track.

According to the research, of the 89% of those who don't use feeds only 17% say they're interested in using them... "Unless marketers make a move to hook them — and try to convert their apathetic counterparts — RSS will never be more than a niche technology,"

RSS is only one form of opt-in communications. The potential is bigger when you look more broadly to social networking
[like Facebook newsfeed, Twitter and Friendfeed]. This larger promise still holds and as the technologies become more invisible the newsfeed could even one day subsume RSS. --Read Steve's entire post
This trend is important since government is using RSS to broadcast press releases and other information to stakeholders. It's not costly if automated, so even if the numbers of users are small, there is little lift to implement.

The White House stimulus reporting site is working to incorporate RSS feeds from Departments and agencies into their reporting, and the potential to use RSS to transmit data for mash ups remains appealing. While this technology may be niche as far as mass subscriptions go, the use of this data by developers and other key stakeholders makes the small effort create and maintain government RSS feeds worthwhile.

Did you want to learn more about RSS? Here is a great introduction video from CommonCraft:

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