Everyone is up in arms about Microsoft’s attempt to call RSS feeds “web feeds”. Purists and RSS originators are understandably upset over the audacity and arrogance of the Redmond giant and are bemoaning the fact that MS is trying to control the term. While I don’t really care what we call the feeds I’ll tell you a true story that happened to me recently.
A couple of months ago, before the whole RSS naming brouhaha, my wife and her friend told me they wanted to start a podcast. Both of them are fairly computer literate so I thought it would be easy to explain to them how podcasts are distributed via RSS. Let me tell you, every time I said the phrase “RSS” I swear their eyes glazed over and they just didn’t get it no matter how hard I tried to describe it.
In desperation I finally told them that RSS feeds were just web feeds and the light went on in their eyes and they understood that immediately. They both told me, almost in unison, “why didn’t you tell us that first?” That simple term made sense to them and I for one am glad that someone is trying to simplify and promote a term that is easy for anyone to understand. Too bad it was Microsoft since many have a knee-jerk reaction to anything they do.