Winer on right and wrong ways to use RSS

I happen to like Radio’s news aggregator, although that may simply be an example of early imprinting as it was the first aggregator I used. At the same time, I’m not sure it’s terribly helpful to apply words like “right” or “wrong” to the ways that people use the tools they discover.

To me, one of the most important characteristics of powerful tools is their capacity to be abused in interesting ways. With all the deserved pride of authorship that “Dave” warrants around RSS, that doesn’t qualify him to pronounce on how the world will use his creation. Alexander Graham Bell thought he was inventing a tool for the deaf, not telemarketers, to cite one example.

This is a place where it is worth remembering Arthur C. Clarke’s First Law:

“When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

Not as famous as his third law perhaps, but relevant in this context.

One of my concerns with the design of Radio’s aggregator is that it doesn’t scale particularly well. I not especially keen on email models for RSS consumption either, although I have used NewsGator as well. Right now I’m working to understand how FeedDemon might meet my needs.

Love RSS.With all due respect to Jeffrey Veen, who I know from my Wired days, his experience with the email model type of RSS reader is exactly why that’s the model you don’t want to use. It’s not like email. Let the river of items flow through your queue, scroll over them with a scroll bar, and don’t let the software tell you you’re falling behind. Your time is what’s valuable, there’s no value to the items you didn’t read. If it’s important it’ll pop up again. RSS is not email. Don’t sort them out into little boxes that you have to go to, make them flow to you, in a river, unsorted. I wish people would just listen to this simple idea, so many people are using RSS the wrong way. [Scripting News]

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