What is he talking about?

I’m not stupid and I know all the technologies and people referenced, but I read this recent article by Steve Gillmor and I haven’t the foggiest what he’s trying to communicate.

He begins about the recent fooflah with Robert Scoble and the attack of the 50 foot syndication feed, using this to launch a tirade against timed updates of syndication feeds. From there, though, he travels many odd and strangely branded paths, flowing eerily from Firefox terrorizing Office, to aggregators all timed to check for updates at the same time bringing down the internet, and finally to Adam Curry’s golden-locked croon through an iPod.

Throughout his article what Gillmor seems to be doing is trying to establish an argument that syndication feeds based on RSS need to be realtime. If this is so, then what is the relationship of the following to this premise, other than a gratuitous swipe at Microsoft for Scoble daring to be critical of RSS?

The rewards for adopting the RSS model are greater for those who lag in the current online economy. By contrast, Microsoft has little apparent incentive to destabilize Office by extending the free browser to support not just content aggregation but creation. Yet that is exactly what the competition is moving toward: an RSS console that automates the capture, consumption, and routing of strategic information.

Rather than the polling of the pull model of syndication feeds, Gillmor pushes for P2P feeds based on the BitTorrent model of using networked peers to handle the loads. In this model you ‘earn’ download time by donating an equivalent upload time. In other words, you get a stream of data equivalent to donated bandwidth. Well, cool. Of course, this only requires that everyone who subscribes to a syndicated feed now agree to be a part of a P2P network. And understands what that means. And that this works within the current weblog publishing model, where over half of webloggers don’t publish to their own servers, any may not even use their own computers to access feeds through Bloglines. And may be accessing these feeds from their phones. And…

Strategic considerations aside, Gillmore trips onto the iPod platform as an example of on-demand stream I assume, and from there segues into a confusing mish-mash of names and applications that have little relation to each other–other than they’re going to replace TV and Radio and a bunch of middle aged guys with too much money and way too much ego can finally have their own shows in both mediums.

Or as Snappy the Clam states:

See how many gladhanding, namedropping shoutouts you can find in this latest conflict-ridden (now with no disclosure!) advertorial puffball from RSS cheerleader and “tech journalist” Steve Gillmor.

Exploring new ways of delivering feeds is a good thing and should be applauded, but not at the expense of losing one’s independence from the blackhole that the RSS 2.0 community seems to be at times. Most importantly, regardless of the mechanisms involved syndication technology needs to be accessible by those who don’t live and breath RSS.

(And did I happen to mention that RSS is first and foremost just a specification for a syndication feed? Not a cure for the common cold? And that it won’t solve world hunger?)

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