Friday, October 24, 2008

Forrester Under Estimates Feed Use

Forrester's What's Holding RSS Back? under reflects the number of people using syndication feeds for several reasons. The Forrester questionnaire defines RSS obtusely to anyone not particularly tech savvy; they ask in a way that will slant the numbers down:

RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a technology which aggregates or collects frequently published or updated content, such as blog posts, news headlines, and podcasts. These updates are collected by software using a feed or RSS reader like MyYahoo or iGoogle, which contains either a summary of content or the full text.
RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner rather than checking for updates or new content manually. Do you currently use an RSS feed?

Forrester report also states For example, MyYahoo allows members to subscribe to content, often without showing the technical guts of RSS - users subscribe without ever knowing they are using 'RSS' technology which also points out that many survey respondents said they don't use feeds but actually do.

If children are asked "what would you put in a cupboard?" they may not have an answer, but if asked "what would you put in a cabinet?" they will have all sorts of answers. Forrester also omits atom and other feed reliant systems from their question (e.g., friendfeed).

Update March 2, 2009: There has been data about users not understanding what RSS is since 2006, though the idea of a feed is clear in the word itself: something is being fed to something else.

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