Monday, April 6, 2009

Buildwap RSS, Web 3.0

As one of the tech geeks at Streamline Technologies who helped create Buildswap I thought it would be good to talk about the power of RSS feeds and the future this technology has with Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 (or whatever we want to call it) websites.

Buildswap is more than just another website. It's a platform that allows users to buy and sell, new and used building materials, tools and equipment.

What is it?
So what is RSS. RSS stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. RSS feeds have the ability to deliver regularly changing web content direct to a user. RSS feeds or Live Bookmarks (another name) originated with blogs and online news syndications. RSS feeds are becoming more accepted and many of the new websites are RSS enabled.

Benefit to Web Users
What is the benefit of RSS feeds for web users. Simple - it saves TIME. We all have more to do than time allows. In addition, RSS feeds help businesses to bring new site visitors, increase search engine positioning, and generate product interest.

Why does it save time? The real power of using RSS feeds is the ability for a web user to stay informed by retrieving the latest content from specific sites without actually having to visit the site. Just think, you can eliminate the tedious repetition of checking for new updates every day or even every hour.

I have little doubt that RSS is going to be pivotal game-changing technology used by all websites in the future. This new delivery method for web content will be a major aspect of the Web 3.0 on-demand mentality. In the beginning, all Web 1.0 sites were a pure pull medium. You had to go visit the site in order to find out if anything had changed. With the onset of Web 2.0, we now have a push-pull medium. Advertisers are always pushing ads on us and other things we don't want to see. Have you ever had pop-ups show up on your screen, wonder how they got there? Talk about the true meaning of push. With the future of Web 3.0 a RSS feed becomes a hybrid of the push and pull mediums. Why? A user has to subscribe (pull) to the RSS feed of a site, and then content will be delivered automatically (push).

Web users have to opt-in to receive content of interest, so you the user totally control the flow of information coming to you. Wow, what a concept. If the quality of the content declines or it not needed any more, the web user simply removes the feed from their RSS reader, thus unsubscribing from the RSS feed. Total control is at the users mercy. Look for this ability in all new websites.

RSS feeds are far superior to any type of email notifications, which are usually disorganized and often mistaken for spam. RSS feeds from multiple websites can be handled easily and presented to you in a well organized manner. One of the problems of today and the future for that matter, is the organization of data on the web and how it is presented. Any tool that can present data in a better way, will be better for us all. See what you want, only when you want, in a way that you want. Profound concept – but necessary.

The Future – Web 3.0 and Beyond
I would expect that in the very near future all web 2.0 and future web 3.0 sites will have RSS feeds. I would even go as far to say that I would expect to see every single page with an RSS feed subscription link.

New web companies like Buildswap are using RSS in a powerful way. Why come to Buildswap every day to search for a dewalt drill, a new window, or a generator. Run a search on Buildswap, then subscribe to the RSS link in your browser for that search. All your criteria is saved and you will be automatically notified when an item is listed that fits your search. No need to scan the site every day looking at old listings you have previously viewed. Other major sites like Youtube, Flickr, and even Craigslist are using RSS feeds now as well.

RSS feeds will eventually be so integrated into the web that it will be second nature. Very similar to email today and how an individual cannot function with out it.

RSS has some room for improvement. It is very limited in its presentation and form at the moment (mostly text). Once formatting and different media types are allowed, the power of RSS will be unleashed. One of the latest trends is a mobile version of RSS feeds. The next big change will be in how RSS feeds are discovered, helping people to subscribe and find what they want in a quicker manner. We have RSS feeds for browsers and mobile devices, IM is in the works as we speak. Other futuristic features include pushing mobile audio, video podcasts, and other media through RSS feeds.

If you are a web user – start now - begin using RSS feeds and see what it can do for you.

Click here to subscribe to the BuildSwap RSS feed!

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