Not another RSS analogy

I’ve tried this RSS analogy thing a few times now, mainly because the concept of RSS is pretty integral to the new social Web. While my “lake and river” analogy got some good pick up, I still didn’t think it was all the way there so I’ve continued to think about it. Yesterday I tried out a new analogy on a client and thankfully it went down well so I’m repeating it here.

RSS and its use is a lot like the old telephone exchange. You tell the operator (your RSS reader) who or what you want to connect to and the people behind the scenes at the telephone exchange (the RSS) physically connect you.

As I’ve said before, the technology doesn’t matter. I don’t need to know what goes into a BlackBerry or even a laptop in order to use it. I just need to know how to use the BlackBerry/lap top. In fact, ignorance is bliss. It is easier to not know about a stupid sounding acronym and just use the technology than the other way round.

So just as we now just pick up a phone, dial and the telephone exchange works invisibly in the background, RSS does the same thing. For example, on the two most en vogue social networks, Facebook and Twitter, I connect with someone and RSS works invisibly in the background to continuously bring their information into my news stream.


2 Responses to Not another RSS analogy

  1. […] 2009-06-12T05:46:19  oh dear god, don't people have anything better to do than come up with more (awesome) analogies for RSS? [link to post] […]

  2. Parker says:

    I think that the reason RSS never really caught on with the mainstream is because as great as we all think it is, the idea of having to sign up for a “reader” to access this “RSS feed” just seems like too many complicated steps for a lot of people.
    Twitter has blown up because people instantly understand the concept of following and being followed. “Oh, I follow him, I get his updates.”

    I think that my favorite RSS analogy is one I heard from Joe Thornley: He related a story of how he used to drive down town every few weeks to go to the magazine store to see if his favorite magazines were in. If they were, he bought them and drove home. If they weren’t, he drove home and came back to the store the next week. When he discovered the subscription cards, he just filled those out and the new magazines got sent to him without having to go downtown again. This is the difference between subscribing to an RSS feed and having to go check each website manually for new content.

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