Algorithmic Content Curation Application (3): RSS

(Curated Relevancer RSS feed shown on Firefox)

Established already more than 10 years ago RSS became the subject to a heated discussion after it was declared dead by Steve Gilmor on Techcrunch in 2009.  As a matter of fact, RSS feeds are still around and for good reasons. Most recently they were even revitalized by a number of mobile feed readers putting a very elegant front-end on RSS feeds.


(Curated Relevancer RSS feed shown on MobileRSS for iPad)

RSS provides a very flexible pull channel to the reader:

  1. Feeds can be integrated into Email, Content Management Systems, Mobile Apps, Social Media like Facebook and Twitter.
  2. RSS can transport text, audio and video content.
  3.  Content can easily be filtered, sorted and reformatted.
  4. Content can be displayed in various ways on a variety of platforms.

(Curated Relevancer RSS feed shown on Shrook for Mac)

While publishers have to take care of the user interface when delivering content via newsletter, portal or mobile app with RSS they can limit their offering to the mere content leaving design, presentation and management of the user interface to 3rd party apps. In this respect RSS is more of a protocol than an application just like Twitter is without a web or mobile front-end.

So there is a fair chance RSS is going to stay for some more time and publishers should continue to use it as a lean and low-maintenance communication channel.


(Curated Relevancer RSS feed shown on Flipboard via Google Reader)

Some front ends such as zite can personalize the content using filters, social graphs or even semantic technologies.

Relevancer uses links provided within the feed to detect, which content was clicked by which reader and this way can derive a semantic reader profile from an RSS feed just like with any other delivery format. So while zite generates personalization on the front-end Relevancer delivers it on the source level and this way can provide consistent personalization across multiple applications.

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