Ever since I fully grokked the value of RSS, Really Simple Syndication (something I attribute to discussions with my friend Chris Pirillo) I’ve been learning more about what makes an interesting and valuable RSS feed.
My own sites offer a number of different RSS feeds, including this very weblog, The Intuitive Life, and Ask Dave Taylor, but while they’re all in perfect RSS syntax, I’ve found that it’s not always easy to ensure that the content within the feed is of good quality.
Among the 50 or so different RSS feeds that I subscribe to and track in the wonderful NewsGator Web Edition web-based aggregator, I have one feed that’s supposed to keep me up-to-date on postings on a Wiki.
In case you don’t know what a Wiki is, I’ve written about these before on my weblog, in the cheerily titled Can someone explain to me what’s to love about Wiki’s? Whether or not a Wiki is useful isn’t the point, though. What I want to mention here is that the RSS feed of a Wiki seems to be tough for programmers to automatically create. Why, I’m not sure, but the RSS feed from this particular Wiki is so awful that I inevitably have to click through to the site to figure out what on earth is new. Not only is this frustrating, but it defeats the very purpose of having an RSS feed in the first place!
So it was interesting and, yes, serendipitous when I read a typically cogent message from my pal Bill French on RSS Quality earlier this evening. Take a second and click through to read his thoughts.
I don’t know FeedFire very well, but I couldn’t agree more strongly when Bill pleads that a feed should be about something in the same way that I believe that a press release should be news, about something for the press, something interesting and worthwhile.
For RSS to really take off, and for us all to be able to keep up-to-date on more news and more information in a simple and non-complex manner, I think it’s imperative that we all try to improve the quality of our feeds. Even if it’s just one data stream at a time.