RSS and The Masses

If you know me, you know that I'm always trying to convert my friends to the latest and greatest social media tools. For the most part, it hasn't worked. All it has done is remind me that I'm living in a bubble.

In fact, my only real success story is with my roommate Claudio who started a blog, a twitter account and has even been known to drunkenly describe Google Reader and using RSS to get his news as "life-changing."

My other roommate also writes a blog, and he refuses to use a reader to subscribe to RSS feeds.

"Why would I do that? I like visiting the pages," he once told me. Even after multiple explanations of how much more efficiently he would be able to absorb his diet of celebrity gossip and Toronto news sites, he still insists on visiting each one individually (I've even offered to buy him a proper domain name and I've set him up with a Twitter account in the hopes of getting him interested but .

I think it is a reminder that just because we are playing with some of the neatest online technology, it doesn't always make sense or appear useful to a majority of the population. Focus on creating a well-designed website that is easy to navigate. Offer an RSS feed, for sure, but also give your readers a chance to subscribe via email or give them updates via Facebook and Twitter.

I know that Google has been making strides to make RSS simpler (by referring to it as "following" and doing away with the technical terminology) but I still don't think most people are ready to subscribe to blogs that they like.

As fast as Twitter is growing in popularity, I still don't think that it will gain the kind of mainstream acceptance that will make people sign up for it and use it to follow blogs and writers that they like.

In fact, I recently commented to my roommate that the best way to get a girl to stop talking to you is to send her a text message telling her that you're into micro-blogging along with link to your Twitter account (I was right).

For more on RSS, I suggest you read this blog post by Ed Lee and this one by Connie Crosby about the need for simpler RSS.