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Blogs, RSS feeds and IT Managers

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Last night I had the honour to be included a panel about blogging at the Canadian public relations society.  The enthusiastic feedback and questions from the attendees really highlighted the growing interest in blogging.  Michael O Connor Clarke lead a great conversation with Rick Segal , Mark Evans, Jack Kapica, Geoffrey Rockwell, and myself fielding some wonderful and challenging questions.  You can check out the agenda @ the CPRS site.

Why is this post important to IT managers?  There was an Ah-hah moment from the audience when Really Simple Syndication was explained and while that was interesting... it was the next question was the most interesting and I felt necessary to share.  A gentleman asked “As it seems that RSS will be easily available to the masses given Microsoft is building native RSS capabilities in the browser and some of the productivity products, does that mean that RSS will become a mainstream communication vehicle?”

The answer is yes, it is isn't already.  Today RSS feeds are being used by many major news organizations and corporations of all sizes.   As Rick stated in the session "The term RSS is going to become as common as WWW".  We can see proof of that already as we are starting to see the RSS (or sometimes XML) symbols on more and more sites.  These organizations provide a feed of their "syndicated" headline or headline-and-short-summary in a RSS format that allows websites, portals and individuals to get the information they are interested in.  At Microsoft RSS is now used for many purposes, including a feed for our security bulletins. From a personal perspective, I have seen companies of all sizes use this technology to aggregate information that is being said about them on the internet into an internal portal to get a pulse of what people think. 

This is a technology that all managers need to gain an understanding as it will have some impact to almost all business over the next few years if it hasn’t already. 

So how do you get starterd.  All you need to take advantage of these feeds is a RSS client, such as one of the titles listed below. There are many different RSS clients available, but here are a selected few that you may find useful:

RssReader,
SharpReader,
FeedReader,
AmphetaDesk,
NewsGator, and
RSS Bandit, which is now an Open Source project you can customize, if you wish.

If you're using Microsoft SharePoint, you can get RSS feeds delivered to your SharePoint site using Tim Heuer's RSS FeedReader Web Part. The RSS FeedReader can be placed on a SharePoint Portal Server 2003 web part page or a Windows SharePoint Services team site/web part page.

Or, if you're using Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services (WSS), you can get RSS feeds delivered via an RSS to DWP xslt developed by George Tsiokos. The DataViewWebPart can be placed on a SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Web part page or a Windows SharePoint Services team site/Web part page without any binaries, installation or server configuration necessary. Just click Add Web Parts & Import. (It's free.)

I've only captured a small and subset of the information available, if anyone has some other sources please feel free to add them.  As well, I'd love to hear any Canadian stories where you are using RSS to solve one of your business challanges.

Thanks,

John

Comments
  • I can agree that RSS feeds are indeed quite simple to implement... and can have quite positive results.

    For example, in my efforts to help promote Perth Ontario as a preferred shopping destination, I implemented an RSS 2.0 news feed on the http://shop-heritage-perth.com site.

    Canada Connects picked it up and featured it in their online magazine as an example of how even the smallest organization can act like Time Warner or The Globe and Mail. This one mention drove over 3000 visitors to the site almost overnight.

  • If you are using an RSS Client that supports enclosures, you may want to adjust your subscription to point to http://feeds.feedburner.com/CanadianITManagers this should allow your RSS Client to automatically download the audio interviews as they are posted.

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