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February 08, 2006

Make RSS Backwards Compatible

You know what's holding associations back from fully realizing the power of Web 2.0? Most of the members in associations don't know about RSS. They don't know what it is. They don't know how to use it. They don't know what it stands for.

Good for them!

They probably don't know what SMTP is, either, but they sure as sugar know what e-mail is!

E-mail is so much more accessible and prevalent than RSS, but I consider it highly unlikely that programmers will make their Web 2.0 stuff backwards compatible to support RSS and e-mail. Although, I think it would be great to give users that choice.

So what can you do to get your members into the Web 2.0 game?

Instead educating your members about RSS and aggregators and other things that are probably unrelated to your association's mission, find a way to make RSS available to your members via e-mail. Feedblitz might be a good place to start. Also, a blog hosted by Blogger enables new posts to be e-mailed out to an external address. Configure your blog to blast those posts out to a listserv address and have your members subscribe to the listserv. There may be other Web 2.0-ish services out there with similar features.

Thanks to Rick Johnston for writing a post on listservs that helped me think more about this.


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