Really Simple Syndication. No, REALLY.

"Why is it that websites that are good end up bloatware? They put so much stuff on the same page it doesn't load right. IGN's page has gotten really bad, going their page is just cheese." -- E.A.Q.

The above was said by a good friend of mine in a chat last month. My initial response to him was confusion, I really hadn't noticed IGN had changed their page at all. I read their stuff, particularly their reviews quite regularly. Before I switched over to using Chrome, I had Firefox so extensioned up with JS-disabling, Ad-blocking, and page modifying extensions, that at that time it would have been a normal response. Chrome most certainly does not block Javascript or ad's, so what was the problem? How could I miss something that such a problem to my friend?

The answer is simple. I rarely go to the main IGN page. I pull everything in via RSS into Google Reader. When you use something so much and so often, you start to take it for granted that everybody does as well. Think: asking someone for their phone number, expecting a mobile and getting their home phone because they do not have a cell phone. Shocked, you wonder, how can they not have a cell phone?

I wondered the same thing, how can someone who spends time visiting various news sites on an on going basis, get by without RSS? This goes hand in hand with the recent Forrester report on consumer adoption of RSS. This report has been mentioned on various other blogs and news sites following it's release, including various suppositions as to why it's the case. Are you ready for another?

From my experience, people don't use RSS, even after it's been explained to them, because they do not see the point. There are so many out there that would benefit from using a dedicated feed reader, and yet they insist time after time that they can just visit the website. They need to be shown what a great tool it is.

A first hand example of this is my brother-in-law. He works in IT, programs on the side, and visits the standard tech-news sites on an on going basis (Slashdot, Gizmodo, etc, etc), and had Google account. Yet, never opened Reader up once. He just didn't get it. I logged him into Reader, subscribed to the sites that he could remember off the top of his head, and within 5 minutes everything clicked. One place to get all of my news. So much time saved. He couldn't believe that he'd never done it before.

In order for RSS usage (in the sense of consumer's using dedicated readers) to grow, the practical use needs to be demonstrated. People already acclimated to seeing MSNBC pop up as their start page in IE, what if you replaced that with an online feed reader pulling in the content from MSNBC, People, and any other site that visiting. RSS moves from a Huh? to a Can't-Live-Without.