I thought I would go to the World Wide Web Consortium to get a good definition of what RSS is. As they explain, RSS is, “a method for getting and sending news and information” (Thorp). The site goes on to say that with RSS you can subscribe and receive updates of websites and alerts you when there is updated information. RSS, or “Really Simple Syndication,” was in part developed by software developer and entrepreneur Dave Winer (Wikipedia). Other early developers also paved the way (check out this link for some RSS history).

I also remember reading a little bit about RSS in the Tim O’Reilly article about Web 2.0. O’Reilly considers the development of RSS a very significant development in the architecture of the web. O’Reilly notes that when a user subscribes to an RSS feed, it is stronger than a bookmark or a link to a single page, as it keeps the user continually informed of updates on the site, and thus coming back. Another interesting point O’Reilly made about RSS is that it has helped people communicate back and forth efficiently in blogs. O’Reilly puts it a bit more eloquently than me, “If an essential part of Web 2.0 is harnessing collective intelligence, turning the web into a kind of global brain, the blogosphere is the equivalent of constant mental chatter in the forebrain, the voice we hear in all of our heads” (O’Reilly).

I think RSS is an incredibly powerful tool in web research and I’m a little embarrassed for not fully embracing until now, but I’m excited to see how it open doors on the internet.

O’Reilly, Tim. “What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software.” O’Reilly Media. 30 Sep. 2005.

Thorp, Justin. “About RSS.” The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). 2006.

Wikipedia. “Dave Winer.” 26 Mar. 2008.