∞ The purported death of RSS

Despite the apparent blogger-provoked death knell, RSS is not dead, dying, or doomed.

The argument goes that the layperson does not know what RSS means, how to use it to their advantage, and it does not have the lasting attractiveness to bring in a new audience. While there is certainly validity in this stance, it is flawed.

Specifically, the view that widespread understanding has anything to do with the health of RSS is flawed.

RSS is fundamentally a backbone technology for websites. It allows content to be aggregated and organized. It allows for the syndication and dispersion of content.

In my opinion, RSS, insofar as it is a backbone, is merely returning to its rightful place. It is becoming hidden from the end user.

RSS unofficially stands for “Really Simple Syndication,” and if held to this definition, I would argue that it is in perfect health, and that the “Really Simple” portion of the definition has fundamentally come to redefine and reinvigorate it.

Just as /Library is now hidden from an OS X Lion user, and just as the iOS platform is locked down and sandboxed, RSS is simply dropping off into the background. Content is being syndicated and aggregated just as before. Perhaps even more so than in the past. Virtually everyone with a Facebook, Google+, or Twitter account follows a news-providing entity. Those entities share content feeds. Those content feeds are generally derived from the XML and Atom feeds that comprise the RSS.

Similarly, apps like Flipboard and Pulse have been playing their part in disguising and hiding RSS from the end user.

In essence, RSS has become analogous to just about every other aspect of the modern computing industry, insofar as everything is becoming simplified and tucked away from the average user.

For the lack of a viable alternative, RSS is healthy, working, and active. While you might not see it in the same manner, content is still being syndicated, but presented in a different way.

RSS is not dead, but at the same time, journalists are correct, it is too alienating for the common user. So the owners of RSS feeds are presenting them in a more accessible, understandable manner.

That is not death, that is reinvigoration.

Matt Alexander is the owner and editor of ONE37.net, a writer, a technology enthusiast, and a contributing writer for The Loop.