Sunday, March 22, 2009

Keeping Informed: Will Facebook and Twitter bring RSS mainstream?

At the end of January this year there was a poll in LinkedIn asking people how they wanted to be informed about LinkedIn's new features and I was surprised to see how low RSS rated in terms of a preference, particularly when compared with Email Alerts.

This reminded me that despite the fact that I have been using RSS for many years, it just hasn't become mainstream. I moved to using RSS when I found myself going to the same web sites every day to see what was new and that they were commonly starting to have a RSS logo. The beauty of RSS is that the information comes to you in one place rather than you needing to go to each site individually. For more information about how I keep up to date with what's going on in the world, check out "Keeping up with what's happening in the world".

I wonder whether the terms "RSS" and "feed" are just too geeky and this is enough to scare off lots of people. Whilst the RSS readers available today such as Google Reader and Bloglines are quite easy to use and the major Portals (e.g. iGoogle and My Yahoo!) and Web browsers have RSS support, usage of information via RSS is still low. With Facebook and Twitter now being huge aggregators of information for millions of people, maybe the funneling of information from other sites into these platforms and other applications is where the value of RSS will be (and it will be even more transparent than it is today).

I am interested to see whether Guy Kawasaki's MyAlltop will lure across the masses, but suspect that User Experience and transparency via the likes of Facebook and Twitter is where RSS will come to the masses.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Values & Your Personal Brand

Two months ago I read a blog post from Tony Hsieh (the CEO at titled "How Twitter Can Make You A Better (and Happier) Person" about values that has shaped the way I communicate.

Zappos came up with 10 core values to define their company culture, and Tony has then used these same values as his own personal values as well:
  1. Deliver WOW Through Service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
  4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  8. Do More With Less
  9. Be Passionate and Determined
  10. Be Humble
By embracing these values as his personal values, this has meant that Tony is less likely to complain or vent in his communications (be that Twitter or in face-to-face communications), because it is not in line with the Zappos core values. He instead will step back and try and find humour in a "bad" situation and re-frame the experience in a more positive light.

I think this is a great approach in terms of ensuring your communication is portraying you in a positive light and aiding in building up a personal brand you are proud of. By adopting this approach, I have found that I feel happier and am more inclined to not let a "bad" situation get me down but to instead focus on what can be learned or gained from it. Thanks Tony for some great inspiration.