In a personal email, I commented back to David, "Do you want appreciation or fanfare for RSS?"Technology is a curious beast, embraced by the broadest collection of cultures imaginable. On one cultural extreme, we have the web-evolved-to-social-media cultists. Obsessed with content distribution, anything worthy of appreciation must surely go viral - and spectacularly so - or it's either unimportant or under-appreciated. The opposing cultural extreme, Old School Internetters, think quite differently. Old Schoolers have seen hundreds of technologies introduced, each heralded as the next, most disruptive, experience-altering, wildly beneficial breakthrough in communications. But Old Schoolers understand that a technology must weather the test of time, prove to scale commensurately with the growth of the Internet itself, outlast all wannabes and challengers, and in a true Heideggerian sense, become unobtrusive before it earns respect.
For an Old Schooler, there is no greater
demonstration of appreciation of a technology than to use it until it eventually becomes unnoticed,
unchallenged, and undisputed, or it reaches end of life. TCP and IP have achieved this happy state. Ethernet has (the MAC, not the underlying media). So has the web. If you think other technologies have, share them - comment!
RSS has experienced a rate of adoption and acceptance few applications have enjoyed, even the web. Practically no one who uses it today can tell you how the protocol works. Most folks who syndicate their content do so using automation (Feed managers, RSS creator wizards...), and the overwhelming majority would stare blankly at the XML file hidden beneath a subscribe or add Feed button or hyperlink. Nothing has come close to challenging RSS in terms of ubiquity and utility. People treat it matter of factly.
Unobtrusive? Yes. Under-appreciated? I think not.
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