Public notebook

RSS forever


I’ll mark the grim moment that Google Reader was “powered down” by pointing to some love for RSS.

Love of RSS, of what it allows and represents, means it will still continue to be relevant, even without being mass market, perhaps because it is not mass market. 

As Robin Sloan says in a comment on his own post

I like the idea of “directing a post to your RSS readers,” which is what Russell did [here], and sort of what I did with this too, I suppose. I think for a while we thought RSS was just, you know, an Alternative Delivery Mechanism. Nope. It was totally a selector… a kind of sorting mechanism for readers, correspondents, allies.

I’ve just finished reading Feed at the moment (recommended in a tweet earlier this week from Robin Sloan, as it happens). It is a nightmare-like science fiction story, where everyone has the web wired into their brains – the feed. The web is owned by a few corporations and has created a culture of mindless consumption that has dumbed most people down to near-moron level. 

Google Reader’s end and the swing of the pendulum to closed from open web we see everywhere – from privacy scandals to APis being shut down all over the place – implies a trajectory that ends in a world like that book. 

I’m for an open, de-centralised web: a commons – that’s where the greater good is to be found. It’s where we can own a bit of the web, wield a little of the power – lots of it in aggregate. 

Of all the web media that I use, my blog and my RSS feed are the only bits I completely own. I own the URL, the data, the copyright. 

We need to have feeds in the hands of the citizens. We need feeds, not Feed

Keep those RSS streams burning, my friends.

: : Adam Tinworth is also all over this. 

Public notebook

How to set up a nice simple group collaboration space

A nice piece of social media literacy here from Dr. Michael Weschand, a cultural anthropologist focused on digital, and his group at Kansas State University.

Everyone in the class (Mediated Cultures: Digital Ethnography) has their own blogs, all of which are aggregated into a single feed. This sits on a Netvibes page alongside RSS feeds of other useful data for the teaching staff and students, like the course calendar (from Google Calendar), bookmarks (from Diigo, a bookmarking service I’d not looked at yet), Wiki edits and a comments feed.

Image: The Mediated Cultures Netvibes page
Image: The Mediated Cultures Netvibes page

It looks like a great simple approach for any group collaborating on a project. Must increase my own literacy and start working more like this!

The other amazing thing is, of course, that we can all watch their work live on the Netvibes page. Which makes me feel better about the fact that even remotely I wouldn’t be able to fit in a course like this for a couple of years…