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December 27, 2004

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Blog design in the age of RSS:

» Thinking About Links from cogdogblog
It has actually been several months since I read "Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means" (Albert-Laszlo Barabasi) but I keep coming back to it, scribbling in the margins, and finding it so insightful... [Read More]

» Marketing Paradigm Shift? from
Marketing Paradigm Shift? [Read More]

» You mean I can go for quality instead of quantity?! from crows to burnaby
Found my way to Chris Anderson's Long Tail blog, which addresses the "long tail" of the web - all the niche sites that, individually, don't account for much traffic, but collectively offer a massive wealth of specialized information. I was particula... [Read More]

» The Case for Quality from Insanely Great Sites!
In "Blog design in the age of RSS", "The Long Tail" author Chris Anderson suggests that the new shift towards RSS as a substantial traffic source means that the quality of articles posted to your site is beginning to be more important than regular... [Read More]

» Following the Long Tail from Micro Persuasion
If you're interested in the long tail phenomenon, which I wrote about late last year, I highly recommend subscribing to Chris Anderson's new blog, also called The Long Tail. [Read More]

» Less is Better from itra blog
Wired magazine editor, and author of the infamous [Read More]

» Blogs und RSS - Qualität und Quantität from Das E-Business Weblog
In Blog design in the age of RSS schreibt Chris Anderson darüber, wie sich seine Nutzung des Webs durch Weblogs und RSS verändert hat. Die Kernidee, die für mich im... [Read More]

» RSS feeds: the free market at work from Sha Ka Ree
Instapundit points to a couple of posts about RSS feeds. In one, Chris Anderson talks about the quality of articles since RSS is moving to the Push model, in the other, Asymmetrical Information is pulling full feeds because ad revenue is down. Personal... [Read More]

» Minimalism Is Good from Idiotsyncrasies
Maybe it's just to hide my poor skills in Photoshop etc., but I've never been big in putting graphics-intensive sites together. Coding is alot more fun for me anyway. [Read More]

» Feed splicing = content dilution? from engadgeted.net
Matt Haughey complains about stinky links in other people's feeds, even though he himself has been splicing up his feed for a while: After five years of doing this, I never thought I'd be reduced to handfuls of interesting links sprinkled with a dab of... [Read More]

» Why RSS from Elliott Back
I just figured exactly why RSS is so popular. When I opened a bloglines subscription and started adding Technorati's top 100, all these ugly and hard-to-read blog layouts became simple plain text. Feeds, RSS, and other aggregation mechanisms aren't... [Read More]

» RSS vs. the 24 hour news cycle from 90% Crud
Bruce Schneier posted his response to a call for the media to pipe down about terrorist attacks. The argument goes that by publicizing terror attacks the media is creating terror, so why not short-circuit the terrorists' goal? Mr. Schneier explains... [Read More]

» download and music from Wilhelm Johnsson
Blog design in the age... [Read More]

Comments

rakel

I've never really used RSS, but it doesn't look like something I'd really get into. I like going to people's sites as a way of personal expression: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Of course, being a webdesigner, I would appreciate that sort of thing.

Ben Phenix

More blogs should pay attention to how their RSS feed look. Many otherwise decent feeds are truncated or do not format correctly. There are some otherwise great feeds I have unsubscribed from because of this (see adrants). Long Tail comes through nicely for me.

When I have hundreds of articles/post to read through each day, making it more difficult to use is not a winning strategy (even if it saves some marginal bandwidth -- and there is a much better ways to deal with that issue).

Back to your main point. Too many post will certainly damper the perceived quality. Even some of the great feeds out there get the skim treatment if there is too much. One of the other fundamental problem is that the with people who publish too much, they tend to flog certain themes well past the point of annoyance or their style simply becomes too much to bear (gregg easterbrook comes to mind hear).

I almost never visit a blog site directly anymore except to forward the link to a friend, therefore non-RSS content is lost to me. My reader is NewFire which I like quite a bit for its offline and search features. One small improvement would be a way to fish the trackback or direct url from the reader itself (say right-click).

praktike

Just add another blog w/ its own RSS feed.

Here's an example:

http://www.646industries.com/beyond/

You could have a "long posts" blog in the center, and a "short posts" blog in the sidebar. I don't know how easy it would be to do with MT, but it's a snap with WordPress.

praktike

Oh, and I believe you could just create an RSS feed for your trackbacks, which would essentially make your current sidebar automatic.

Cliff

You should create a second rss feed for the "elsewhere" posts. People could then subscribe to one or both. Many people create a second rss feed for their link blog. For an example see http://jeremy.zawodny.com/linkblog/index.xml and http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/rss2.xml

Ross Mayfield

Dude, its Pull, not Push.

But anyway, for low threshold links, here's what I do:
* Use del.icio.us plus a bookmarklet that lets me easily move from browsing to annotating
* Use Feedroll to include your delicious feed in the sidebar of your blog with your custom blog design
* Use Feedburner to track reader stats and splice your links into the feed. The result is this http://feeds.feedburner.com/ross

Ian Philpot

Some of the feedback I have received on my blog has help me decide what to do with links. The few readers I do have were split between the content and the links. For this reason I have created a 2nd miniblog for them much like Waxy.org Link Miniblog. Now all posts go to one blog and links go to the other. I decided this would cut down on the confusion. Also based on your conclusion of the two inboxes I made the gamble that the readers that cared for the links would take the time to subscribe. Now the feedback is much more positive and I seem to be right...for a change.

I also agree with you point about quality vs. quantity. I find my self lately unsubscribing to feeds due to the fact that their quality has not improved, but rather decreased. Quantity isn't so much of an issue for me unless nothing is getting moved to my "clippings to read" folder, but then you already said that...

Ross Mayfield

Oh, and I forgot,

* you can use the Recent Trackbacks typepad sidebar to display posts that have trackbacked to yours
* but there is value in human editing, so use a Technorati watchlist to monitor when people are writing in reference to you and then use the above to link to it in your blog and feed

Anthony Baker


I recommend doing an RSS feed for your posts, and also one for your sidebar links. My RSS subscription tally stands at close to 200 sites that I read regularly via RSS, and I love the ones who have sidebar pointers. These are almost asides, but are often very, very cool stuff.

Off the top of my head, Jason Kottke does this wonderfully, as does Jon Hicks, the icon designer for Firefox, as does Merlin Mann of 43 Folders (hacking Getting Things Done) fame.

From my perspective, it's really not that complicated and isn't clumsy in the least.


Oh, and on the RSS front: I find that most of the avid RSS readers are still at the edge of the curve on this. I know a slew of folks who are much less saavy with web browsing and computing in general who have no idea what it is.

I think that until it's much more integrated into the web browser directly (or email, ala Newsgator) and feeds are made even more discoverable, we'll still not reach mainstream audiences.

Chris Anderson

Great advice, Ross. Many thanks!

Chris Anderson

Thanks, Anthony. That's what I'll do when MT releases the feature.

jack

I'll second Ross's suggestions of del.icio.us and FeedBurner, though I run my own recently-installed linkblog a little differently:

  1. collect and annotate bookmarks using del.icio.us. Items destined for my linkblog are tagged "linkblog"
  2. run a cron job every 6 hours to fetch a pre-formatted HTML snippet containing my most recent N del.icio.us bookmarks that have the "linkblog" tag (http://del.icio.us/html/USERNAME/TAGNAME). This snippet is included in my page via PHP.
  3. offer my regular feed, plus a linkblog-only feed (provided by del.icio.us), plus a spliced feed (provided by FeedBurner). I happen to enjoy the option of collecting all the del.icio.us bookmarks from a given day in a single RSS item; this keeps it from dominating my feed on days when I happen to bookmark a lot of sites.

I hadn't heard of FeedRoll until Ross mentioned it, but it looks to be a pay service, so I'm sticking with my current (100% free) setup.

Pat Rock

2 RSS feed for the sidebar. This is what Mark Pilgrim did and it worked wonderfully for him.

Just make sure and promote it every once in a while so people get the message and subscribe to it.

Joe Clark

Why sit around waiting for Ben and Mena to implement a feature that WordPress already has?

Besides, WordPress is free and open-source. Betting on Movable Type is rather like betting on Microsoft-- sinking your own work into somebody else's format that you have to pay for in the first place.

theglobalchinese

Am I right in the hypothesis that RSS Feed is nothing else than a HTML kind of a newsletter, where the headlines appear and invite to read whatever one likes to? Of course, the official definition would rather be that Really Simple Syndication belongs to a family of XML based web-content distribution and republication (Web syndication) protocols primarily used by news sites and weblogs. But really, what is this else than a HTML kind of a newsletter?

Chris Anderson

I'd say the main differences between an RSS feed and a HTML newsletter from a content perspective is that newsletters tend to deliver their content in aggregated collections of entries on some kind of schedule determined by the publisher, while RSS feeds deliver individual posts when they are written. You can organize and repackage those items in any way you want, including your own custom newsletter.

Of course, there are also technical transport differences between html newsletters, which are delivered via email, and feeds, which are automatically pulled from the individual sites by client software.

Mark Carter

Speaking of RSS being integrated into the browser... if you're using Mozilla Firefox, it has a feature called Live Bookmarks. Basically, if a site is RSS-enabled, an icon will show in the bottom right corner of your browser window. Clicking on this lets you subcribe to the RSS feed (the process of which is identical to creating a bookmark), which is stored with the rest of your Bookmarks. I created a RSS Feeds bookmark folder where I save all my Live Bookmarks. It's a convenient system, very easy to use.

Joshua Wood

I think ling tail explains why search engines love blogs. Each posting is extremely focused on a particular subject that is not necessarily related to the site as a whole. As a result you begin to capture traffic from outside of your target audience because you may have written an article about your spaghetti dinner in great detail. I just posted a longer article on this idea at Everything eCommerce This whole concept of long tail has really gotten me excited about the possibilties and direction of online commerce.

Greg Linden

Chris writes: The problem with RSS is that it isn't a marketplace.

The issue here is more with RSS readers than with RSS. Current RSS readers organize articles by RSS feed, so you see every post from each source.

Next generation RSS readers will split up the posts and prioritize by importance and interest.

For example, take a look at Findory, our personalized news and weblog reader. It learns your interests, searches thousands of sources, and surfaces the interesting news and weblog articles.

praktike

Here's another option that I use: I browse RSS feeds using Bloglines, and I created a "clippings" blog that I use to keep a running log of articles and posts I come across but don't really have anything to say about. Then I use Drupal's aggregator and display the RSS feed of the clippings blog on my site.

Here's the clippings blog:
http://www.bloglines.com/blog/praktike

And here's the site:
http://www.liberalsagainstterrorism.com/drupal/

shayne

We added our sidebar using a del.icio.us feed. Using Feedburner, it integrates nicely with our RSS feed.

Dee Rambeau

Chris, your comments on quality over quantity certainly apply to some bloggers, who are apparently more interested in traffic and link count than they are in making some sense. Thanks for your longish and thoughtful posts. I've got the "crammers" eliminated from my Reader by actively deleting them!

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Once they've won you as a RSS subscriber, it requires an active decision on your part to unsubscribe.

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Tidbits

The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Notes and sources for the book

FREE was available in all digital forms--ebook, web book, and audiobook--for free shortly after the hardcover was published on July 7th. The ebook and web book were free for a limited time and limited to certain geographic regions as determined by each national publisher; the unabridged MP3 audiobook (get zip file here) will remain free forever, available in all regions.

Order the hardcover now!