Social OPML


Remember how you used to save your bookmarks in the browser (Favorites if you use Internet Explorer)? Then when you discovered del.icio.us you realised that you no longer had to maintain your bookmarks in two different browsers on three separate PCs. And you could use the fact that everybody else kept their bookmarks in the same place to make connections between your bookmarks and other people’s

You don’t go back to using local bookmarks once you have seen the world of social bookmarking.

Browsers have been around a lot longer than feed aggregators. Maybe that’s why we are still happy to keep our feed collections locally. Maybe we simply haven’t discovered social feed collections yet. But this would be the answer to something that is annoying me a lot more now than it did a few months ago.

As more and more of the information I consume is available in a syndicated format, I add more and more channels to my aggregator. Some important messages now come through my aggregator. I am starting to depend on it for critical notifications. Wherever I go, my aggregator is open on my desktop and it is as necessary to me as my email client and my chat client.

So the fact that I have to re-read the same posts that I have just checked when I move to a different PC is starting to bug me. The fact that I have to add a new channel manually to each aggregator on each PC is starting to bug me.

I want to keep my feed collection centrally, outside my aggregator. And the Read/Not Read status of the posts too. del.icio.us for feeds. That’s what I need. You read it here first. Stop and think about it for a minute before I start talking about implementation problems.

1. There is, of course, a chicken and egg issue. There’s no point storing my feed collection centrally unless my aggregator can use the central store. The central store won’t get any kind of critical mass until most common aggregators are using it. None does at the moment.

2. The second point is that once you have decided to store your feed collection centrally and also the Read/Not Read status for each post then you are very close to deciding to store the posts themselves centrally. I’m not sure about this although it seems to be a logical conclusion.

3. I don’t understand the business model of del.icio.us sufficiently to understand how you could finance a feed.licio.us equivalent.

I hope these are mere details :-)  If we build it they will come, as somebody once said.

p.s. This post arose from a conversation with Adam Tennet

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6 Responses to “Social OPML”


  1. 1 Dominic Sayers June 5, 2006 at 12:26

    Stu: yes, thanks for pointing this out. It appears to need 3 things only to be a viable public service (1) a way of tagging my feeds to categorise them in a way that is meaningful to me, (2) an aggregator that gets its feeds from either Winer’s site or the OPML HTTP that you register, (3) a way of storing your Read/Not Read status for each feed (must think of a snappier way of describing that!).

  2. 2 Dominic Sayers June 5, 2006 at 12:16

    Andy: yes you are right. Do you have a couple of developers spare that I could use?

    Tim: this is probably the reason why there is no feed.licio.us right now. For most people this will work. However, if you have been following my other posts you will know I am particularly thinking about aggregation in a corporate environment with intranet feeds and secure feeds. In this expanding field a public browser-based aggregator won’t work.

  3. 3 Stu June 4, 2006 at 21:54

    Mr. Winer’s already on the case, no?

    http://share.opml.org/

  4. 4 Tim Huffam June 2, 2006 at 14:22

    Why don’t you just use one of the online/web based aggregators/readers – either the personalised home pages (ala google, ms live, yahoo et al) or something like http://www.bloglines.com.

  5. 5 andy June 2, 2006 at 14:16

    If there is nothing out there maybe we could create something and take it to market. If we added some development to RSS Bandit for example to support the feed.icio.us it could certainly enhance our image as innovators of technology, particularly if it took off…


  1. 1 Dominic Sayers » Blog Archive » Item status Trackback on June 8, 2006 at 16:28

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