Monday, October 13, 2008

Ridiculously (Really) Simple Syndication

(Come on guys, let's keep things simple.)

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) allows users to generate a personalized homepage which will automatically receive updates and feedback from a list of subscribed websites. Put another way, RSS allows a one-stop locale for an individuals’ favorite sites and news. For example, let’s assume that Jack (a MOSTLY hypothetical individual) really likes grunge music- like, more than any of us or anyone else you can possibly imagine. Jack can then set up a ‘reader site’ at a location such as Google and subscribe to various websites who continuously discuss music or other band-related information. By doing so, Jack no longer has to visit 20 different sites every time he gets on the internet to find out if anyone has posted new information about his early 90’s musical taste. Instead, Jack merely logs into his RSS reader site and quickly scans through all the newest updates from his favorite websites. There it is: in one site. Simple. Really simple. And it also allows Jack to spend more time doing… whatever Jack does (visiting Seattle? I don’t know. Whatever.)

Enter Public Relations. Ah yes, the art of sending mass communications to targeted audiences. Now how does RSS play into this? Figured it out yet? It’s simple, really. Really simple.

From a business aspect, let’s assume you are the manager at a major state university bookstore. Furthermore, let’s assume you would like to stay on top of the latest technological breakthroughs from companies with whom you purchase products from. Okay, so, the obvious players in this category may include Adobe, Microsoft, and Apple. Perfect. Next, let’s assume you are trying to watch the horizon for what new products are coming out and how many to order for your store. A simple (really simple) way to accomplish this task would be to set up an RSS reader site which would automatically give you updates on the progress of specific products. Therefore, it’s possible spend less time watching the various news on these products, and more time doing whatever else you need to.

But let’s say that’s “too business” in nature. Okay, fine. Then let’s assume you work at local news-station and you would like to keep up to date on the latest deals and decisions from local businesses. Simple. Set up an RSS reader to watch all the latest RSS feeds from local businesses and the deals/decisions that they come to which may affect the community. Just like that, any news worth reporting will come to your RSS reader site, automatically.

As you can see, the world of RSS is not only simple (ridiculously so) but also incredible effective at reporting the latest news relevant to your audience. Even more so, the news you deliver only needs to be sent once as RSS will automatically send it out to all audiences who have identified with your organization. So there you go, a simple solution to otherwise, not-so-simple (in the past) problem.

(Let the feeding frenzy begin!)

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