I am a little fed up with RSS feeds that sites provide. I don’t know if this is what the “simple” is about but there is a difference in level of information between what I read on my RSS reader and the actual website. While it maybe stupid and impractical to deliver the website as it is to the RSS reader, some salient features can be maintained.
Especially on news blogs or multiple blogging sites, there are different levels of news items which RSS groups as one – a news item. So I am better off reading the website as it gives me crucial information as to whether I should read a particular news item. For example, feature stories are given prominence and more important stories appear in different fonts or some such level of prominence. Maybe, we should have Really Better Syndication than just RSS. Maybe, sites can publish user statistics like most read stories, most commented stories along with RSS. This can be read by readers to format news accordingly. Maybe, sites can publish ads as well in RSS to generate money from their syndicated readership. 😉
Ofcourse, in the light of the above, what then would be the use of the RSS? As of now, I just use my reader to read blogs with low volumes and simple content. (Google blog, Calvin and Hobbes, PhDComics, MIT OCW and such) RSS Readers may be touted as “Your inbox for the web”. I don’t need another inbox. I have my mail app to subscribe to newsletters. I need an interface that will help me look at information that is updated regularly and decide whether its important to me and whether I want to keep reading more about this *thread* of news that has come about.