Why RSS and Folksonomies Are Becoming So Big.
The Importance of RSS
Unfortunately, Googles well of good data is being poisoned by the likes of comment spammers, trackback spammers and adsense mongers. And while Google, the other search engines and the blog software community have been fighting the good fight with ideas like nofollow, Typekey and stop gapping,
I think Google knows that when it comes to blogs, theyre losing the
semantic ground. And I think theyve known this for a long time,
because for the last year Google has been resting their hopes on a new
medium of informationreally simple syndication. The technologically
capable know it as RSS.
If you think about it, rss feeds are a librarians wet dream (and make no mistake that Google is essentially a library, check that mission statement
out again). An RSS feed is a blog distilled to its core essence. If you
look at the output of an RSS feed in a reader, youll see no comments,
no trackbacks and (for the most part) no design. Its the better blog.
Its pure data.
And so RSS feeds provide Google all the
goodness of blogs without all the semantic garbage that might come with
a system open to users that are not the content provider. RSS feeds
provide Google clean data, good data and thanks to wide-spread adoption
by companies and the major blog software entities, lots of it
RSS is getting face-time at the expense of search, Google has something
to worry about. And it makes sense. From personal experience, I know my
daily routine to keep up with the information overload doesnt really
involve searching anymore, but subscribing. Thanks to services like Del.icio.us, Technorati and Digg.com, people are spending a lot less time actively searching and more time passively reading whats being updated in their readers
In the race to find what deserves face-time, services like Del.icio.us, Technorati and Digg.com in combination with the rapid adoption of web apps like bloglines, newsgator, feedster and kinja are making Googles search seem very, very slow. And its all being accomplished with RSS technology
me give a concrete example based on our experiences here at
Particletree. When we launched this site, we knew that the tutorials
and information we were gathering and creating were goodthat they
would be somewhat valuable to the web development community. The
problem was that we didnt want this useful, time-sensitive information
to sit around for days (or even weeks) waiting to be picked up by
search bots and then found by people accidentally or when they were
desperate for a solution.
So I proposed that we turned to Del.icio.us
to expand our readership. Every time something went up on the site that
I felt would be good enough for a wider audience, I added it to my
Del.icio.us account with the appropriate tags and descriptions. Our
goal was to try and get a feature on del.icio.us/popular
by the end of July and to our surprise, we accomplished it in less than
a week. After two weeks of diligent posting and tagging, Google gave us
a little over 50 referrals while Del.icio.us gave us over 700.
I think the reason Del.icio.us is so successful at bringing the appropriate audience to good material is because they track the changing web
by using people to calculate what is essentially page rank. They get
access to decent fuzzy logic for a fraction of the cost and the
democracy of the system allows anyone to get their idea of what
deserves face-time into the system almost immediately. [particletree, via Dave Farbers Interesting People mailing list]
Hale makes some really interesting observations in this essay, so you
should read the whole thing, especially if you dont understand the all
of the hoopla about these sites.>Feedster and the like make Google seem slower.
if Hale is right about all of this, it makes you wonder if this isnt
just one more place librarians and our expertise arent going to be
found, even though we should be. And dont we already have goldmines of
data that could be found in these services if we just started tagging them (in addition to the structured searching we already provide)?
and someone already left a comment about the whole Google as library
part, although no one called him on his assertion that there are no
comments in RSS. Especially good since Hale ends the essay by referring
back to the why of all of this for Google Adsense revenue. [The Shifted Librarian]