Thursday, June 22, 2006

That which we call RSS, by any other word would smell as sweet

Jakob Nielsen, the Web design guru extraordinaire, thinks people like me should stop talking about RSS, because it's confusing to anyone who is not an obsessive information junkie. Nielsen tells the Wall Street Journal that one of his "real strong recommendations is to stop calling it 'RSS' and start calling it 'news feeds,' because that explains what it does."
Point taken.

So...I was reading news feeds in my news reader this morning when I saw that Jakob Nielsen, the Web design guru extraordinaire, prefers email newsletters to news feeds. Longtime readers of this blog know that I've grown less than fond of email news. And although I don't recommend that publishers exit the email-newsletter game -- there's still too much money to be made --I do suggest that they add news feeds now and prepare for the inevitable end of email news.

One interesting note -- in the Journal interview, Nielsen points to an example of the sort of targeted email newsletter that "people really look forward to getting." It's called "Your baby this week," and it serves new parents. And I have to admit that a newsletter like that does have an appeal to someone like me. Just days ago I became a first-time father. So my obsessive information gathering has taken on a new level of frantic energy. So I signed up for "Your baby this week," published by BabyCentre, even though it appears to be very similar to the email newsletter I already get from American Baby magazine.
Then I returned to my news reader, where I subscribe to a dozen news feeds for parents, including The Blogfathers and Older Father.
And that about sums it up: 12 feeds versus 2 newsletters. I apparently like news feeds about six times as much as I like email newsletters.

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  1. First, Congrats on fatherhood!

    Second, I subscribe to the BabyCenter newsletter but found it outdated by the time I got it because I'd already researched the next milestones on the web.

    I use "news feeds" on just about everything and it's much more convenient to go to my news reader and browse the entries rather than click open each email. I'm with you!

    I'm also hoping the Blogfathers is a lot more fun to read than Baby Center!

  2. Thanks Matthew.
    If there's one thing that fatherhood does, it's eat up time. I can't imagine what I would do if I didn't use news feeds.


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