RSS technology is a wonderful thing once you realize what it can do. Note that I didn’t say how it does it, you don’t really need to know that because of the cadre of drag and drop tools out there.
RSS toys and adoption have evolved greatly over the last few years and the current set of tools present organizations with a rich set of options for creating and molding custom information portals right down to the customer or employee function level.
One of the first RSS tools that many techies and technophobes alike became familiar with when blogs took off was the RSS Reader. Some of the more popular ones such as Google Reader and Bloglines allow you to subscribe to dozens of blog feeds and visit a single page in order to view the content from all of the blogs you like to follow.
This was such a great way for people to keep track and follow content as it changed, often daily.
RSS and Search
As RSS technology became popular just about every online tool started to offer some form of it. In addition to blogs, now calendars, to-do lists and specific search phrases produce RSS feeds and can therefore be subscribed to with an RSS reader.
With this form of RSS use, readers could follow schedules, news alerts and brand mentions on sites such as twitter and in blog comments.
With so much information being produced online today the use of RSS technology has become an essential way to monitor every aspect of business.
By using an RSS Mashup tool such as Yahoo Pipes, organizations can easily combine numerous sources of information into a single RSS feed and easily display the results of this feed on a single web page or as a daily email digest.
What this means is that businesses that take advantage of these tools have the ability to create custom RSS feeds that, for example:
Scour the Internet for any mention of a brand’s name, products, people or competitors and present this information in one tidy package.
Create feeds of blogs, searches and sources of interest to specific clients or groups of clients and offer this filtered information as a customer service.
Create and easily add and delete sources of “must read” content for the sales team by changing the source feeds and not what they subscribe to.
Compile a single feed of an organization’s most important journalists as a way to stay on top of what they are covering.
Build a feed that listens for any local trigger phases, like “my server is down again” on social media sites thereby producing leads for the sales team.
RSS technology will certainly evolve even more, but for now, companies that take the time to understand just enough about how to use this Internet plumbing may keep the tap flowing far greater than their competitors.
Image credit: Ivva