Bookmarks for March 30th through April 5th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

  • The Collapse of Complex Business Models « Clay Shirky – Awesome stuff from Shirky.
  •   Reflecting on my MSc research by Michele Ide-Smith – "By researching the attitudes and perceptions of authorities and citizens I hope to gain a better understanding of perceived barriers, threats and opportunities of using social media for community engagement"
  • Cinch – "Cinch is a free and easy way to create and share audio, text and photo updates using your phone or computer. Cinch enables you to capture and report on your experiences in a way that simple text just can't do. Using a simple interface, you can make and broadcast your content creations through Facebook, Twitter, and more."
  • The State of the Internet Operating System – O’Reilly Radar – "Ask yourself for a moment, what is the operating system of a Google or Bing search? What is the operating system of a mobile phone call? What is the operating system of maps and directions on your phone? What is the operating system of a tweet?"
  • Penval’s Digital Inclusion Manifesto – Well done Paul Nash. This is what the digital inclusion debate needs – proper, thought through ideas. Genuinely constructive contributions. Not just people bleating about the problems.
  • tecosystems » Forking, The Future of Open Source, and Github – Is the future of open source going to be based on communities such as Apache and Eclipse or will it be based on companies that sell open source? Neither.
  • Dr Dennis Kimbro & his views on recruitment – Really interesting and thought provoking piece on talent management, and attitudes to it, in local government.
  • In quest of simplicty – "We expect IT to be complex and costly, but the lesson of the past 5 years in IT – where we’ve seen the consumerization of enterprise IT (“enterprise” is often a coy way of saying “this has to be complex and expensive – no questions!”) – is that IT can be both simple and cheap."
  • Law and social media – dull but important – "Social media throws up issues of privacy and identity which are far more complex when you have a complete record of someone’s time online and a also a need to balance the personal with the professional roles of an individual. "
  • Powerful petitions with real teeth set to bite – "Local people can now demand their councils take action on underperforming schools and hospitals, drink disorder, anti-social behaviour and other concerns under new rules giving real power to local petitions, announced Communities Secretary John Denham today."

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

5 Different uses for RSS

RSS is a great technology, one of those that underpins the new usefulness of the web. It’s a simple way of keeping in touch with what is happening in lots of different places, without having to keep visiting lots of sites every day.

Here’s a video from those wonderful Common Craft folk explaining RSS better than I ever could:

One of the really fab things about RSS are the different uses to which it can be put. Here’s five off the top of my head – have you any others?

1. Keeping up with bloggers

I don’t think blogging would have taken off nearly as fast as it did without its very early adoption of RSS as a method of syndicating content. Blogs by their nature are updated on a regular basis, and in a lot of cases a lot more often than other more traditional sites. Keeping up with all that content would be impossible without a way of bringing all those updated into one place.

2. News to you

News site soon cottoned onto the potential of RSS, to the point where now any news organisation worth its salt provides content in this way. Other organisations are starting to adopt it as well, and government is getting there. The need to keep eyeballs on adverts has resulted in some feeds containing only teaser content, to force the reader to go to the originating site anyway. This is a Bad Thing, in my view, and the one positive thing that will come out of RSS feeds that include adverts in them is that it might mean we get rid of partial feeds.

3. Monitoring what’s being said

Now that search engines such as Google are providing RSS feeds for their alerts service – as well as Blogsearches – it makes it all the more easy to set up monitoring dashboards, rather like the ones developed by Steph Gray and others at DIUS. Scanning the web for mentions of key names and topics means that nothing on the web needs to be missed, no matter how small the source.

4. Chchchchchanges

Collaborating on wikis, and forums etc is a wonderful way to experience how the web can help bring people together to share and develop content together. But how to know when people have made updates to pages, or projects, or conversations? One way has always been to get email alerts, but that can lead to having a very full inbox. Any web service worth its salt these days provides RSS for updates, meaning you can keep yourself in the know, and well organised at the same time.

5. Republish, repurpose

This is the most exciting, for me. Because RSS is an open standard it means other services can make use of it to republish material in new ways. Take Steph’s digitalgovuk site – all built using the RSS feeds that Delicious spits out – or Simon Dickson’s OnePolitics – which makes following political blogs both easy and easy on the eye. When you start getting into the territory of combining RSS with other technology like maps and so on, the possibilities seem limitless.

What other uses for RSS are there that are important to you?