Will Dave Winer shed a tear over reported death of his baby?
Movies are noted for their overblown representations of death, with the actual scene of death being the high dramatic point of the movie. This latest flare-up of chattering about the so-called death of RSS is beginning to resemble one of those often over-acted movie scenes. This latest round of fortune telling hits the blogosphere as we head into a long weekend because some ex-CEO of Feedburner, ex-Googler has become the COO of Twitter.
This of course has choruses of Twitter is the next RSS (ya right) and that RSS can finally be declared dead as a doorknob (if you say so). Of course this is all predicated on the fact that everyone is ignoring a very simple fact – if RSS was to die the majority of social media services would either be severely hampered or wouldn’t exist in the first place.
After all Friendfeed was built on top of RSS feeds. Every single one of their copycats is based on RSS feed. This doesn’t even take in to fact that you would be hard pressed to not find a single Web 2.0 and social media service that doesn’t expose a RSS feed of some sort; or make use of them.
Without RSS social media and Web 2.0 would collapse flat on its face. So to think that RSS is dead only shows that the people arguing this point are either linkbaiting or they don’t have the faintest clue about the plumbing that powers their newest playground.
Therein is the point – RSS is plumbing, a protocol used to transport data. A protocol that is nothing short of a beautiful method to simply deliver everything from simple data to the most complex data you can think of. An RSS feed is nothing more than an XML file – the same type of file that Twitter clients use to show you your timeline. All those clients are in effect just a RSS feed reader with a different coat of paint on them.
Lest we forget, once upon a time in, oh, 2004, RSS was held up as one of the underpinning technologies of Web 2.0. How times change.
The thing is that when you really take a good look at the web things actually change very little. RSS equals XML, Twitter feeds equal XML. Even DOCX, the Open Office XML format, is XML. What has changed is that we are finding new ways to transport different types of data for new and interesting purposes.
The other thing that hasn’t changed either is the ability to slap a fresh coat of paint, some snazzy verbiage around something old, and call it new and earth shattering. So someone pass Dave a hanky and let him know that his baby has more than few years of living ahead of it yet.
I just wish that stupid discussions like this didn’t have the same life expectancy.
image courtesy of remarkablogger