RSS in the Clouds
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it’s a way for people to subscribe to updates to your blog using a client like Google Reader or Bloglines. You may not know what RSS is but chances are people are using it to read your blog. We track over 50,000,000 posts read via RSS every week. (Around a 18% addition to our on-site views!)
Today we turned on support for all 7.5 million blogs on WordPress.com something called RSS Cloud, which is basically a way for people to get push notification that your feed has updated.
Why is this important? Right now how most people interact with feeds is by checking that it updated every now and then, usually about once an hour. Can you imagine waiting an hour to get your emails? (The world would probably be more productive.) RSS Cloud is an extra element in your RSS feed that allows subscribers to say “Hey, let me know as soon as you’ve updated, kthx.”
WordPress.com has always supported update pings through Ping-o-Matic so folks like Google Reader can get your posts as soon as they’re posted, but getting every ping in the world is a lot of work so not that many people subscribe to Ping-o-Matic. RSS Cloud effectively allows any client to register to get pings for only the stuff they’re interested in.
What does this mean to you? Well probably not too much yet, there’s only one reader so far (River2) that supports RSS cloud, but we expect there to be more in the future. We’re also going to be supporting other ways for people to get push notifications (Jabber, email, Weblogs.com pings, SUP, pubsubhubbub, Twitter… who knows what else) so people will be able to find out about and visit your new blog posts as soon as possible, making blogging a more real-time experience. Since RSS Cloud is so easy to add to RSS, it seemed like a good place to start.
You can read a bit more about this on Dave Winer’s blog, ReadWriteWeb, and Techcrunch. If this sort of thing gets your motor running there will be a RSS Cloud meetup in Berkeley this Wednesday, which I’ll be at assuming the Bay Bridge cooperates.
P.S. Happy Labor day!