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A great video on RSS

Our friends and colleagues over at Common Craft, Lee and Sachi LeFever, have produced a great, short video called RSS in Plain English.

The video offers an excellent and fun explanation of what RSS technology is useful for, where to find it, and how easily you can get started using it. If you've never tried using RSS to read websites, I recommend that you try it out. It's a good thing to know about, and can be useful for a number of things.

Personally, I stopped using RSS in 2003. (I originally wrote about why I was stopping on my old blog, in a post titled Dr. Bloglove, or how I learned to stop using RSS and love the web.)

In the video, Lee makes a point about how the "old and slow" way to view the web is bad, and how the "new and fast" way is better. Lee is being a bit tongue-in-cheek about these being bad vs good, and I know that he has a totally nuanced view of this.

But, taking what Lee says in the video at face value, Lee is measuring good vs bad in terms of quantity of time and quantity of information, e.g., the less time you spend looking to find more information, the better. And, Lee also uses quantity as the frame of reference for talking about the ever increasing number of websites that are available for one to read, e.g., more web pages means more to read means more time, which is a "problem" solved by RSS.

But, not everyone cares so much about, or is so affected by "quantity." For others—myself included, quality is a much larger factor. For "quality" types, the quality of our time and the quality of the information we need is far more important than the quantity of either.

For example, with the websites I read, it's less important for me to find new (i.e., more) information on the site than to enjoy good information on the site. So, if there's isn't something new, I might read (or—gasp, even re-read) something old. This might well take more of my time, and I might then read less on other websites.

Doing more in less time—getting more information in less time, doesn't necessarily equate to a better use of one's time, or to a better understanding of a topic of information. Or, reduced to an aphorism: having more time doesn't equate to having a better time / having more to eat doesn't equate to having a better meal.

In any case, Lee and Sachi have produced a great video, and I want to emphasize that you definitely should check it out. (And, forget about my philosophical rant if you haven't ever tried RSS—you really should at least try it, and Lee and Sachi's video will help you get started.)

The video is also a great example, in general, of how one can use videos on a website for "business" communications. And, it's a great example of how important an enthusiastic, personal (friendly) communicator is in conveying ideas via the web.

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