RSS, Twitter and lifestreaming: Is there an engagement somewhere?

Quite a bit of buzz today over the news from Matt Mullenweg that WordPress.com supports RSS Cloud, a new development in the evolution of RSS.

Created by Dave Winer, RSS Cloud basically involves the push-notification to subscribers of your RSS feed that there’s new content available.

rsscloudschema254 Dave Winer’s diagram shows the concept very clearly, and he’s written an easy-to-understand RSS Cloud walkthrough.

The key word here is ‘push.’ Unlike standard RSS which polls your subscriptions on a timed schedule – the default in most RSS services is once an hour – RSS Cloud will let you know of new or updated content the instant it’s published.

So why should you care about this, especially as there’s only one RSS reader the service works with at the moment – River2, also from Dave Winer?

Well, the idea of no longer having to wait for content is what would appeal to me, especially if it gives me an edge in some way. That edge could be as simple as hearing about news or information on something my friends are saying, to getting informed about a business deal before my competitors do, the instant that new information is posted or sent.

You can think up other advantages.

It’s a bit like how Twitter works, isn’t it? You write a tweet, hit send, it goes instantly to the cloud and out to your followers via whatever means they prefer – the web, desktop apps, mobile apps, even via RSS.

I think the appeal of the RSS Cloud service would be amplified hugely if you could use a single app or service to receive all or part (you choose) of the content that interests you, whether it’s via RSS, Twitter, from social networking sites like Facebook, or wherever.

More significantly, you’d be able to interact with that content in a single location, ie, the app or service you use. No more jumping from app to app.

We’re already seeing such service integration in Twitter applications like TweetDeck and Seesmic Desktop – just two examples – which let you run multiple Twitter accounts and bring in content from your Facebook account, which you can then interact with, all in a single application.

There are also services like Friendfeed that do similar things via the web (although the future still isn’t wholly clear for Friendfeed following its acquisition by Facebook last month) and newer ones like Posterous.

Is this really just a way of seeing how lifestreaming is evolving? And if I’m saying that the RSS Cloud suggests an engagement with Twitter, what’s next? The marriage?

Let’s not rush things. We’d need to see if and how an engagement is going to work – and whether the partners are genuinely compatible – before any serious commitment.

Btw, if you run self-hosted WordPress, you can try it out right now – there’s an RSS Cloud plugin for WordPress. Not sure what you’d be trying out (would someone let me know?), but you’ll be at the edge already.

Communication Leader, Social Media Leader, Consultant, Digital Change Agent, Speaker with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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