RSS news feeds ping on May 1
Spread the word, it’s RSS News Feeds Awareness Day. Although the International Labor Organization may currently be the biggest group celebrating May 1, that could change. Perhaps Daniel Scocco had forgotten about the ILO in coming up with the idea of designating May 1 as RSS Awareness Day. However given that RSS newsfeeds unleash the communicating power of the Internet, the word can spread very fast. I learned about this from the RSS news feed of Andy Beard, who had blogged about it. As we all tell our readers about it, then the momentum becomes unstoppable.
RSS news feeds have been around for many years. It’s the fastest way to be aware of what the BBC or CNN is reporting on. In order to subscribe to the RSS feeds of such favorite sites, all you need is an RSS reader. Here are three web-based and free RSS readers that you can use. All work well and it’s a question of what works best for you:
Once you have your RSS reader working you can just head to your favorite website and subscribe by clicking on the RSS icon.
Courtesy Andy Beard
Another important way of staying on top of breaking news is with Google Blogsearch. It went through a rough spot during recent months but it’s now back functioning well to alert you to Hot News Items. That too is relying on RSS news feeds. All in all, it’s good to be aware of the power of RSS news feeds. If making May 1 RSS News Feeds Awareness Day can help spread the message, then let’s all ping away.
Related: News Feeds Boost Website Traffic
For another blog post I was writing, I checked out a possible title in Google BlogSearch as I often do. The proposed title was Microsoft Matches Google In Voice Mobile Search. What struck me were the following items, which appeared at positions 8, 9 and 10 in the report.
Items 11 and 12 were very similar to these three. How could Google, which prides itself on its search algorithms, possibly present results that were clearly meaningless. To add insult to injury, these items were created with the free Blogger blogging software offered by Google since they all are located on the Blogspot domain.
This is not the first time I have seen such nonsense items in BlogSearch searches. Given their pharmaceutical content, they are clearly an attempt to derive revenues from Google Adsense and serve no other purpose. You might have thought it would not be difficult to work on the Google BlogSearch algorithm to avoid these definitely sub par results.
So why does it happen? Perhaps since BlogSearch does not produce revenues, it does not get corporate attention. It doesn’t even make it to the main Search page. You have to click on More before you’ll see the link. That’s a great pity. RSS news feeds are an important part of the online world and it would be useful to have a search facility that performs well. It’s also surprising that Google leaves such a sign of inferior quality for all to see.
RSS News Feeds Keep You Alert On World News
A recent post by Eric Kintz, Vice President of Global Marketing Strategy and Excellence for HP, raised an interesting point. The title: Home Page, Landing Pages and HP Blogs: Are We Hiding in Plain Sight? He mentioned that there are some excellent blogs in HP and yet this is not apparent from the HP Home Page.
He had raised this with Nandini Nayak, Director, HP.com Site Design & Research, their resident expert on web experience and usability. He asked, “Do you believe that a homepage link would be critical to our blogs’ success?” The answer was very appropriate, “No. In the relative scheme of things, the Home Page is but one entry page as users increasingly find us through search engines and enter our site through side doors. The importance given to the Home Page is over rated.”
The answer points to the expanding universe that is represented by all the information on the Internet. To stay on top of the news it is no longer sufficient to check out only CNN or the BBC. The existing news media are now complemented by the growing content of the blogosphere. Search certainly is one way one can attempt to keep aware of the latest developments.
However the vast majority of these sources of information now have news feeds. By subscribing to such news feeds, a news aggregator such as the Google Reader or Bloglines can be scanning these for any signs of new items. That is the way that most people will increasingly become aware of what is going on. The Home Page becomes less and less relevant all the time.
In a previous post, we noted the exciting arrival of a reborn National Gazette for millennials. Rather surprisingly given its audience at that time it did not have a news feed. Since I rely on news feeds to keep me aware of what’s going on, I therefore wasn’t aware that it had recently started a news feed.
Now Dan Croak, the Publisher of the National Gazette, has commented in that original post as follows:
We have RSS feeds! Add us to your reader and expect the number of articles/day to jump dramatically in coming weeks… We haven’t made any “formal” announcement about ourselves as we feel like we are still very much in the early stages of our development, but will do so rather soon… Stay in touch!
That’s great news, Dan. Whenever you feel you’re ready, just let us know.
Related: News Feeds, News And A New Newspaper
News feeds from the major news providers have been available for many years. These alert those who check such news feeds that new items are available. For example the BBC has a good explanation of news feeds and of the news feeds they provide for all their news channels. With a news feed aggregator such as Google Reader or Bloglines anyone can stay in touch with breaking news from a whole variety of sources.
Most blogging software arranges automatically that as new posts are made to a blog a news feed is updated to show the latest entry. So it is also possible to be aware of new items of interest on the blogosphere. Even though blogs are now taking new formats such as plogs and slogs the news feed is always available to alert the world to news.
Traditional newspapers as they see the impact that the Internet is having on readership are also joining the news feed movement. They set up online editions and anyone can subscribe to the associated news feed to stay in touch. That would seem to be the dominant trend now.
Except that this week, a new online newspaper came on the scene and as of this date it has no news feed. It’s called the National Gazette and would seem to be an interesting new vehicle.
Here is how they explain what it is all about:
The National Gazette is an American newspaper written by and for the millennial generation, those born roughly in the last two decades of the 20th century. It was created by “millennials” who felt that even in the massive modern media landscape, the values of our generation were not being represented in the media. It is published solely over the Internet by a decentralized network of writers, editors, and photographers. The network is open to any millennial with something meaningful to share.
I only became aware of this new newspaper through a news feed (XML file) put out by one of those involved in its creation, Cameron Moll. That news feed is somewhat unusual since it is associated with a web page rather than a blog. Cameron Moll calls it his Premium Linkage web page and it has some really good links on it. It is a shining example of the principle that to stay in touch with news items the most effective way is to watch those news feeds. Perhaps the National Gazette will follow the trend.
Related: News Feeds Boost Website Traffic
Update: Yes, The National Gazette Does Have News Feeds – see comment below.