25 March 2006

Blogging and RSS - how much time to invest?

I don't have an answer - people seem to think that I spend a lot of time developing content for this, but it's not the case. Dumping a few thoughts onto a screen and then sub-editing it to make sure that the language is relatively glitch-free doesn't take that long. Some of the material is content which has already been developed in other contexts, I simply drop it into a blog format. It doesn't seem like an onerous task to keep it live, and the number of subscribers continues to increase steadily. I seem to spend more time looking at the stats than I do on creating content which probably says quite a lot about me.

Interestingly, some people are starting to see blogging as a serious marketing channel for people businesses. Steve Rubel's post describes a couple of businesses that are dropping their websites in favour of blogs. That's brave, because people aren't sufficiently familiar with feeds to stay in touch with the content. I can understand why a blog helps to develop a dialogue with the world outside, but I'm not convinced that the time is right to use it as the only channel. So, back to the question - how much time to invest? The answer has to be, not too much. Blogging has yet to prove itself as a serious contender for staying in touch with a target community, and the techno-savvy teens seem even less aware of RSS than their seniors. RSS probably needs a severe make-over. Asa Dotzler's post on the Microsoft announcement about RSS is worth a quick look:
"Something as small as a name or icon choice can make a big difference in how approachable a new feature is. I'm encouraged that we're further distancing browsers from the awful "RSS" as a feature name and icon identifier. We don't call web pages "HTML + CSS + JavaScript Pages" and we don't identify them in the browser using little icons containing "HTML" and "CSS" acronyms; We shouldn't do it for feeds either."

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