Geek breakfast, email and RSS observations …

Last Friday morning I had the pleasure to host Luis Suarez and his IBM colleague Matti for an improvised geek breakfast at my house. I didn’t take any photos, Luis did, but you can believe me that we had a gorgeous time sitting on the porch, sipping coffee and exchanging trade secrets of the enterprise social software market – IBM and all.

Luis is one of the bloggers I really dig, his contributions range wide – from enterprise knowledge management to collaboration software, from social software suites to personal/knowledge worker productivity. Check his talk at Next08 for some insights on living without email (“Thinking out of the Inbox – More Collaboration through less e-mail“).

Here Jon Mell talks with Luis on escaping Email (mp3). This experiment has some interesting learnings, so check his status reports and Jons summary of the talk. There’s also an extended version of the “email detox experience”, in another podcast Luis did with Matt Moore and guests.

Yes, instead of email we’re moving conversations, knowledge exchange, and collaboration to wikis, instant messaging, and other social tools. Here, RSS is one central tenet, and this is where I want to chime in, adding some compiled RSS notes I was collecting since the Enterprise RSS Day of Action (initiated by James Dellow of ChiefTech) and the Mai 1st RSS Awareness Day.

RSS is a technology, which in my perspective is still underrated – this holds true also in corporate settings. RSS can ease the life of knowledge workers, yes this is an obvious fact, but one that got reinforced today in the sessions I attended yesterday at the BarCamp Bodensee. Yet, a big problem is awareness – it’s hard to teach people, you have to help them giving it a try, and help them see how RSS comes in when dealing with information work.

In the enterprise RSS provides a channel for notifications, delivering content automatically and intelligently: Monitoring recent changes in internal wikis, moving information privisioning from push to pull, integrating various sources of information – RSS sits right at the intersection of information management and collaboration.

So here you go:

  • Recently AvenueA/Razorfish communicated that RSS was the social media tool with highest growth rates. Nice news, via pheedo:

RSS growth surprises many when the hear the numbers. It is used by over 50% of online users according to AvenueA/Razorfish. RSS has been growing under the radar for some time. According to a 2008 study from Universal McCann, RSS use is exploding, growing faster than all other key social media platforms, including social networking and video sharing. According to the study, the number of RSS users jumped 153% between June 2007 and March 2008. Publishers today recognize that their content is increasingly consumed away from their website by their most loyal, dedicated readers. For many top publishers, their page views consumed outside their domain are greater than their website page views.

[…] enterprise RSS adoption is coming into fruition – but why has it taken us so many years to finally get here? Why do the folks considering enterprise RSS today have to be the ‘forward thinking’ ones?

  • James Dellow sums up his learnings:

Overall, I don’t think that Enterprise RSS Day of Action changed the world, but this was never the intention – I’m just pleased that we’re having this conversation. However, I’m also feeling a bigger disconnect between what excites the external world of Web 2.0 and the reality inside the firewall
In these still early days, being an Enterprise RSS champion requires a delicate balance between being visionary and pragmatic.

3 Responses to “Geek breakfast, email and RSS observations …”

  1. Nick Barker says:

    Hi Martin

    We have very similar view to you about RSS. The potential is huge, however we are going to have to wait for the users to catch-up with the pull benefits of RSS and for more of the Enterprise application to become RSS readable.

    I think we are still in market education mode. My co-founder, Simon Oxley and I are about to release (due 8th June) a new Enterprise 2.0 website,, which should help with the educational process. It has a library of information and news feeds all about Enterprise 2.0.

    Good post. You are already on my RSS reader and now I’ll keep a closer look out for your posts.



  2. Hi Martin,

    Nick is right – we’re in complete market education mode. I’ve been on a tear recently, introducing some very forward-thinking people to RSS, and find the perception of subscription (pull) – only RSS to be part of the issue.

    I am a big Attensa fan (they’re a client of mine) because I am able to read feeds, and react to them (comment on blog posts, email to others with comments, post reactions right to my own blog and tag both internally and to my account) right from within the reader. And that’s just the end user experience.

    I realized, during the Enterprise RSS Day of Action that we’re talking too much about it and (a la Common Craft) we need to show it for people to believe it. So I created a little SlideShare show just for that purpose.

    I believe (because the problem is awareness) we’re going to have to solve for this one person at a time. Thanks for the compelling post.

  3. […] the comments James Dellow notes that RSS is missing, yes I agree, RSS provides a good investment / benefit ratio (well, after people understand it, we need more explaining, showing and […]

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