Archive for January, 2009

RSS, personalization and visualization : solutions to the information overload

Posted on January 19, 2009. Filed under: English, Knowledge Management, Outils, web2.0 | Tags: , , |

Reading from RWW today, I came across a very interesting post by Marshall Kirkpatrick. Here is the comment I made, summarizing the key points of the exchanges that took place in the first 75 comments :

Thank you very much Marshall for starting this conversation about RSS and information overload. This is a perfect example of why I love blogs 🙂

I have been through all comments and would like to offer a quick synthesis of the key ones I have picked up before suggesting anything 😉

As Rick first put it, of course we are not talking about RSS adoption per se, but rather tools / solutions that make use of it as readers inside companies : portals / dashboards / or so-called RSS readers, as web or desktop clients.

As Eric puts it, this adoption poses a challenge : incorporating in a new tool or in an existing one (eg MS Outlook or Mac OS X Mail), especially when individual users are mostly prohibited from doing so (Nigel)

Then Brad was the first to talk about ‘information overload’, which is – along with the proper UI for each need category and personalization / filtering potential of XML – the key challenge here.

There is of course the cost issue (Jon) that will probably decrease (Oliver) and recent / future developments (Brad Feld) of those RSS readers.

I see RSS (I believe you’ve already seen Common Craft’s video RSS in plain English) as one of the cornerstones of “enterprise social software” (see the business cases offered by Christoph and his “Social Stack” – one of a few interesting ones I’ve seen with Miguel Membrado’s – or Michael’s), enabling improved management of information and therefore reduce the overload, but not replacing email (which will remain more like the fax : an ubiquitous, reliable way of communication).


In addition to what Thomas said (including the security or internal vs external issue), or Bjorn’s comment I believe some of the key differentiators between all those communication means are =

1) timing, in a continuum from asynchronous to synchronous (it reminds me the funny Twitter curve). The global trend is more and more communication canals adding up as business accelerates. Research on those emerging behaviors will tell us more about which one to use for what info,

Twitter curve

2) personalization (recommendation, filtering, …), AideRSS and the PostRank algorithm beeing a nice attempt for better RSS management that needs to be expanded / opened to suit more diverse needs that only popularity. I believe social filtering is another avenue that needs to be explored, as it mimicks our usage : the good old url sent to me via email – in a push mode (or the for: feature of Delicious), but also in a pull mode (the ‘follow’ on Twitter). A data driven solution, it is enabled by permanent tracking of web actions and interoperability between services.

3) and interface, as I believe visualization is a key element of the solution, current ui having shown their limits. See my blog post and Moritz Stephaner’s thesis Visual Tools for the Socio-Semantic web.


Note : a few of the tools mentioned in the comments that serve as solutions / substitutes / or parts of the solution for information syndication / filtering (in addition to the 3 objects of this post) are :
iGoogle, MyYahoo, Netvibes, Google Reader, SharpReader, Feedghost, RSSpopper, Bloglines, Confluence, PostRank / AideRSS, Yahoo! Pipes, Yammer, Lotus Connections, MS Sharepoint, and I will add Tarpipe.

Note 2 : Some of the interesting outgoing links from RWW’s blog post :

G. Oliver Young (Forrester) :

Brad Feld (investor at NewsGator) :

Samuel Driessen  :

Lee Bryant : and one of his business case at Allen and Overy

Scott Nielsen (Attensa) :

A resource place for RSS in enterprises :

James Dellow :


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