Overcoming the information tsunami

I was fortunate to participate in a Webcast yesterday on the future of RSS and search (I seem to be stuck on RSS this week). The “RSS Weekly” event featured Bill French, founder of MyST Technology Partners and Bob Wyman, CTO and founder, PubSub. Here are a couple of paraphrased nuggets:

Bob Wyman: The nature of information that is RSS is very time critical, so it requires a different type of search engine structure. The material in blogs, etc. is very attuned to current events. Breaking news is perfect example. It takes a long time for such information to bubble into conventional search engines. Blogs are very much tied to the concept of timeliness. Bloggers writing of the Spain terrorist bombings provided eyewitness accounts long before that type of information filtered through normal channels.

Bill French: Clearly, one of the decisions the people have made is to stop surfing. It’s simply too time consuming. It was fun for awhile, but now there is just so much good stuff online. We’re entering a phase of Web consumption resembling an information tsunami. We’re simply overwhelmed. This is why RSS is such an exciting technology.

Bill’s comment is most insightful and one I wish television news executives would understand. The idea of portalesque Websites is history, and local media entities that hang their New Media future on such are desperately short-sighted.

I heard again yesterday that “this is primarily for a small group” and that “consumers aren’t likely to adopt it (RSS).” Well, here’s a quote from an excellent Online Journalism Review piece on RSS.

…news sites that don’t offer even a front-page headline feed in this online universe risk becoming irrelevant not only to bloggers who can drive traffic with a mention of a story but to increasingly savvy news consumers…who want control.
To which I can only add a hearty “amen” and congratulate another client of mine, WKRN-TV, for providing an RSS feed of its news headlines.

(NOTE: “RSS Weekly” is a regular series of Webcasts sponsored by DecisionCast. For more information, contact alex@decisioncast.com.)

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