My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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a culture of feeds: syndication and youth culture

As i wrote before, i quit using RSS/syndication readers. Sitting in at Web2.0 for 20 seconds, i was intrigued by the ongoing hype of RSS – how everything is going to be syndicated and how everyone is going to access data that way. For this audience, i think that it is certainly true. But i’m wondering if that’s really true beyond the info-nerds.

Syndication is based on an email model, relatively close to a mailing list model. You subscribe to a set number of things and the program informs you of updates. Like email, updates come in the form of a new item. If you leave your syndication tool alone for too long, those new items build up and you’re faced with an INBOX-esque situation, an eternal queue waiting to be checked off. Of course, there’s also a morbid pleasure in keeping that number at zero, motivating most digital control freaks to obsessively and compulsively check off the items as read. Syndication readers are the modern day whack-a-mole.

I will fully admit that my digital OCD runs deep. Mixed with digital materialism, a penchant for collecting things and a fetish for information, i found that my addiction to RSS wrecked my world, making it impossible for me to go to bed at night until everything was checked off. While email has long since weighed on me by having an INBOX full of reminders that i’m a bad friend, syndication brought out my voyeuristic tendencies, letting me feel safe lurking without feeling compelled to respond. Reading was enough; reading was everything. If only that were the case in email.

What gets me about syndication is not my personal neuroses around it (although i fear that others will be pushed over the edge with the continuous increase in feeds). What gets me about syndication is that i can’t resolve the proposed models with the usage patterns i see in youth culture.

Melora Zaner did some great research into why youth are throwing away email for IM. In my blogging research, i was only able to validate her findings. Youth use email to talk with parents and authorities (including corporate emails like from Xanga); it’s where they get the functional stuff. They check email once a day. They get notices there, but they’re mostly disregarded. IM is where the action is. Youth see this as their digital centerpiece, where they communicate with their friends, thereby maintaining their intimate community. They use the Profiles in IM to find out if their friends updated their LJs or Xangas, even though they are subscribed by email as well. The only feed they use is the LJ friends list and hyper LJ users have figured out how to syndicate Xangas into LJ. [Remember: blog is not a meaningful term to youth culture.]

LJ Friends Feeds look a lot more like IM than email, unlike most feed readers. Posts are just aggregated in a reverse-chronological ordering and you page through the various posts. There are no checkboxes, no little red numbers that tell you you didn’t read everything. You can easily scan. Unlike their adult counterparts who seem to add and never delete, youth talk about removing people from their LJ friends list if they’re annoying, if they don’t talk much anymore, etc. Because of the overhead of reading LJ friends’ lists, there is a desire to only retain those who are of actual interest. Youth are not grabbing institutional feeds; they’re not reading name-brand journalists just for show; things like Kottke and Boing Boing mean nothing to them. The only strangers they seek are those of genuine interest, those who are like them. Youth use LJ/Xanga like they use IM – to keep in constant touch with their intimate community.

This is quite interesting because the current generation of youth is more brand-conscious, more advertising-aware than any previous generation. Branding is part of their identity, yet their communication technologies are not how they see themselves keeping tabs on their brands.

Whenever i hear about syndication madness, i hear how everything will be syndicated. This mostly means that every company wants to syndicate their material so that the consumers will keep pace. Usually, this references the info-nerds (like myself). Yet, i can also imagine that the goal is for brands to shove info down the throats of everyone and anyone. That said, i cannot imagine youth syndicating non-intimate feeds unless the benefit is exceptionally large, or the feed plays into that culture already. When my generation signed up for mailing list after mailing list just to get access to a particular site, we often used one of a million throw-away addresses, but once we were on the list, it was hard to get off. With feeds, the user doesn’t have to ask the company to be removed; they can simply stop accessing the feed. The question then becomes: why start accessing the feed unless you’re exceptionally motivated?

Of course, there are going to be consumption feeds that are of interest to youth culture. I can certainly imagine the local rag shooting out a feed of what’s going on that night and this being of interest to youth culture. But, for youth culture, news access and social access are very distinct. Google is for information; LJ/Xanga are for friends and social lives.

The future of syndication that folks at Web2.0 are professing is really structured around information organization and access. It’s about people who are addicted to content, people who want to be peripherally aware of some discussions that are happening. It is not about people who use these tools to maintain an always-on intimate community. There is a huge cultural divide occurring between generations, even as they use the same tools. Yet, i fear that many of the toolmakers aren’t aware of this usage divide and they’re only accounting for one segment of the population.

I know that i haven’t completely sussed out my thoughts on this issue, but i wanted to throw this out there for those who are interested in where RSS is going. And i would love to hear a reaction to my thoughts here.


Update:

I should make some clarifications since, as usual, i painted broad strokes. I was definitely throwing this out there unpolished, but then again, that’s my favorite use of this blog. These are in response to various comments so far.

1. My division between youth and adult cultures is by no means strictly bounded. Texting exists across ages, although the patterns change the younger the audience. And much of youth culture is dependent on fads, but i do believe that much of their decisions pushes the boundaries that shape technology as it evolves. IM and SMS can certainly attribute their successes in mass culture to youth.

2. I do believe that quite a few youth keep tabs on things beyond their circle, just that they still use mainstream media to do so. Their participation in “blogging” is not in the form of alternative journalism and so they, like most people, seek news from mainstream (even if digital) forms.

3. I do believe that there are life cycles. Much of youth culture is about identity formation, social network formation, etc. Of course, this continues on into adulthood. Yet, i am amazed at how college kids use IM for productive means as well as personal ones, giving me some indication that the tools that they developed as youth are going to pervade their working lives as well. I’m not convinced that these folks will jump on the email bandwagon simply because patterns in their lives will change. Certainly, they will use email – it is not dead, per say. It is just no longer central.

4. I am not arguing that all syndication is dead in the water. I’m just wary of the hype and the broad claims about its possible usage cases. Of course, many people find it valuable. I’m not denying this at all. In its original usage case – news aggregation – i think it is infinitely valuable. But most of the hype around syndication seems to extend far far far beyond news.

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66 comments to a culture of feeds: syndication and youth culture

  • a culture of feeds: syndication and youth culture

    I just crafted a long essay on feeds and youth culture over at apophenia. I’m interested in how youth are consuming feeds very differently than adults and how the differences seem to be connected to the IM/email division. Feed madness…

  • krusty_ar

    I can’t believe I didn’t see this happening 🙂

    I can relate to allmost everything described in the article, and I mean to everything that’s said about the so called “youth” and the rest of the people that uses internet as a source of information, I consider myself an info junkie (with all simptoms described), but I also use IM to keep close (and in some cases allmost permanent) contact with people of close interest. But I’ve never been aware (until now) that those where two very different parts of my internet experience, I guess I allways assumed that it just was a general (undivisible) trend of my personality.

    What I don’t quite share are the conclusions, I’m not that convinced that the two “classes” of internet users described are as easy to separate (in the sense of making them mutually exclusive in the same individual) and to assign to a particular group of people (in this case, an age based classification).

    PS: I found this trough a RSS feed (del.icio.us) and am now subscribing to yours 🙂

  • I think three ideas are being smooshed in together.

    The first is the use of IM and LJ/Xanga communities as a primary means of intimate communication. This is a genuinely new communication pattern.

    The second is the use of RSS to follow weblogs and news sources related to professional and world events. The professional nerd culture follows this pattern, which supplements or replaces newspapers, tv, and visiting websites. It could be that the kids you’re talking to are ignoring all of this. They don’t have professional interests to keep up on. News may bore them. Do any of the young people pay attention to events outside their clique? If they don’t have or develop any habits of getting informed, they’re going to be quite befuddled when they all get drafted.

    The third pattern is as you describe, the vain hope of mass advertisers that RSS will save their push advertising business. RSS ads probably have a place. Like BlogAds on weblogs, they’ll be a revenue source for publishers using this medium. But are we all going to sit still and watch RSS-delivered 30-second ads for cars and soap? Probably not.

  • The IM pattern sounds like a North American version of the international texting trend.

    As a grownup, I’m in frequent contact with a distributed team of colleaguest through IM and IRC, and use RSS to keep up with a combination of work-related information and people, news, and friends who write journals/blogs.

    Messaging’s not just for kids in my experience.

  • I think there’s a bit of a disconnect in the comparison of youth and adult culture. Sometimes youth adopts the tools that will shape their generation for a lifetime, but often they adopt tools that are appropriate to the priorities of youth culture itself, and that use fades or changes as that generation ages. For kids the biggest priority is relationships. Friends, dating, community, these shape their decisions in driving ways. Personal relationships start out blotting out everything else, and then as you age shrink to a more manageable proportion. It’s not surprising that their technology choices would reflect that. For instance, as people settle down with families, they often seek much less purely social contact- they can get a lot of what they need from their family, and outward time is spent in less personal ways. Email might have a clear advantage over IM there- it lets you keep the world more at arm’s distance. I think RSS as a tool reflects adult priorities more; career, current events, societal status anxiety. Not meaning that adult priorities are in any way better or worse, just different. Mainly my point is that current behavior may not be very predictive of later preferences. RSS is a pretty elegant tool, and I’d be surprised if demographics other than techno-nerds didn’t find uses for it.
    Something I’ve been wondering about all the data about kids throwing away email for IM. That phrasing to me implies a non-coevolution, ie that kids had email, then got IM, then dropped email. But a coevolution to me implies that they are happily slotting the technologies into different areas of their lives rather than rejecting email. Of course, getting things out of the gestaltic soup can be somewhat plagued with inaccuracy- they could be actively rejecting email, I dunno.
    Also, I don’t really see the analogy between mailing lists and RSS, or even that much overlap in the style of content, but that may just reflect my particular experience.

  • joe

    I love feeds.

    Further, you showed me the tool I use to read them, danah (bloglines).

    I hate having to remember to check something… I’d much rather have it check itself.

    Not only do I have feeds for everything I regularly want to check… I’ve even hired a feed mercenary to scrape pages for me into feeds (for pages that don’t have feeds or are updated by hand).

    As to the OCD-ness, let it go… let it wash away. Check what you want, when you want. Even zero the bastard out when you can’t possibly do it… the posts will still be there… and good posts you here about in a number of ways (f2f, email, other posts, etc.).

    What puzzles me is that you blog but have either stopped reading blogs or simply choose not to use the structure of a tool to do so. That’s interesting… because you’re much less part of the conversation now. I can see how, though, with a person like you… that you might need to stop listening so much and use your blog in a way that ellicits creativity… instead of frustration.

  • I must still be a youth, then.

    I’ve tried using aggregators before — damn, even writing my own — but the email-ness of it made it into work, and I already have enough work in my life. I recently axed two thirds of my LJ friends ’cause I realized I didn’t read them with the attention they deserved, and though it felt awful to just cut off relationships with these people — and it really was cutting off: really, who has time for email, either? — it was simultaneously incredibly relieving.

  • If you have an aggregator that is only likely to show you things you are interested in, and not make you wade through everything, then it will work.

    I always think of ads for record albums in Spin or Rolling Stone or Maximum RocknRoll or XLR8R. I would be very disappointed if I picked up one of those magazines and there were no ads for albums.

  • I love the image of youth throwing away the email for IM: hmmm there goes email… I believe M. Zaner goes even as far as to say “email is dead” but I can’t be too sure. I’ve never seen anything published from that project. It’s top secret from MSR… I prefer results from a publically available project in the UK by Sonia Livingstone et al. – UK Children go online, available here – http://www.children-go-online.net/ The picture here is far less definite, considering that these kids are usres of both IM and SMS (or just SMS sometimes). The pattern that emerges here is far less definitive of email-death and RSS-incomprehensibility for the “youth”.

    Overall, it seems that kids are totally opportunistic in how they use available communication technologies to achieve their goals of staying as tightly in touch as possible – IM, SMS, e-mail, whatever works. Of course, there is the peer pressure to conform, but things look different if you stop studying just the white upper-middle class teenagers from Seattle.

    I am curious why you are comparing IM/email and RSS. Kids are all about communication and itimate relationships and most probably do not care about much more than fandom and MTV, often ignoring even the overhyped news portion of THAT). RSS, on the other hand, is not a communication tool as much as a news-reader. If teenagers in general rarely listen/read news, why would they use RSS? This does not mean teenagers, when they decide to (or are forced to) grow up, won’t start reading news at some point, and won’t find uses for such tools as RSS. I am thinking goals-driven behavior, not tool-driven behavior…

    I completely agree with Quinn’s post. In fact, there is a paper with an author whose last name is Quinn, which happens to echo all those points in its treatment of teen IM and email use. Yes the tools may be new, but the pattern of communication, although exacerbated through lower opportunity costs and barriers, has been documented in the literature for decades. Teens do a LOT of intimate communication within cohort. They often perceive it as the most important thing in their life.

    Aside from all that, I just wanted to suggest the following: RSS is a new iteration on the old idea – aggregating news. Listserves did that, digests did that, Google did that, now RSS does that. If you consider Latour, the evolution of the technology follows the evolution of the actor-goal-demand process. You can not consider one piece of technology by itself, it doesn’t tell you anything about the process and the direction of the evolution (or co-evolution). Yes the geeks are all excited about RSS and they claim its the best thing since sliced bread. There was a time when they thought that zip-drives were the best thing since sliced bread… Yet some of us use the technology and others do not for a host of reasons… Time will certainly show, but I am not so sure current youth will be the deciding factor.

  • As an old fart and a parent, I’m with Quinn as to patterns of tool use changing as social life changes, and work life gets a lot larger.

    But on the use of RSS by youth, if, as someone recently said (Kellan?), RSS feeds are event streams, then I can imagine a lot of ways in which this would feed into youth culture. Personally re-mixed event feeds, like the clubs I’m thinking of checking out this week, as RSS feeds?

    Sorry if this is not very coherent, up way past my old fart bedtime. 🙂

  • Ian

    I like Firefox‘s approach to RSS, called Live Bookmarks. When you bookmark a site with an associated RSS feed, Firefox automatically recognizes the feed and displays a tree of the most recent headlines in your bookmarks list. No newsreader required.

  • All Growed Up as an Info Freako

    When I was in high school, around about the time Ross Perot was getting into the presidential race, I remember putting a little item on my to-do list in my brand new day planner:
    * Read the newspaper, watch the news.

  • Oops. Somehow, my comment ended up on another blog entry – sorry about that. At any rate, I rambled on at my own blog (All Growed Up as an Info Freako), but I think you’ve already covered things in updates.

  • Geodog, Re: “event” feeds. How about http://upcoming.org/

  • exiledsurfer

    if i can chime in as a simultaneous user who works between the two age groups and the two sofftware communities mentioned in this post, i would have to say that the primary usage of rss is to get at information fast, without any of the graphics that need to load in a normal page. the next generation of browsers, ie firefox as mentioned above (sage is also a plug-in which gives you rss in your browser window) and the next version of osx tiger has rsss built in to safari…theres even plug-ins now for IM clients in your browser, not to mention desktop jabber clients, such as gush, which put rss and im into one desktop app which communicates across all IM gateways. Convergence is happening in may ways, not just with devices. So if the content is interesting to any target group, be it young or old, they will use whatever tools they can to access it…. and the next generation of software tools is integrating these worlds into one informational user space. rss feeds of fotos are also more likely to be used by youth, and you see that pattern happening on phone/moblog/mms sites. The opportunities for branding here have not even begun to take hold because the providers are still sitting on the delivery mechanisms, but i can imagine rss feeds of mms photos with branding from a sponsor being not in the too distant future.

  • exiledsurfer

    if i can chime in as a simultaneous user who works between the two age groups and the two sofftware communities mentioned in this post, i would have to say that the primary usage of rss is to get at information fast, without any of the graphics that need to load in a normal page. the next generation of browsers, ie firefox as mentioned above (sage is also a plug-in which gives you rss in your browser window) and the next version of osx tiger has rsss built in to safari…theres even plug-ins now for IM clients in your browser, not to mention desktop jabber clients, such as gush, which put rss and im into one desktop app which communicates across all IM gateways. Convergence is happening in may ways, not just with devices. So if the content is interesting to any target group, be it young or old, they will use whatever tools they can to access it…. and the next generation of software tools is integrating these worlds into one informational user space. rss feeds of fotos are also more likely to be used by youth, and you see that pattern happening on phone/moblog/mms sites. The opportunities for branding here have not even begun to take hold because the providers are still sitting on the delivery mechanisms, but i can imagine rss feeds of mms photos with branding from a sponsor being not in the too distant future.

  • exiledsurfer

    if i can chime in as a simultaneous user who works between the two age groups and the two sofftware communities mentioned in this post, i would have to say that the primary usage of rss is to get at information fast, without any of the graphics that need to load in a normal page. the next generation of browsers, ie firefox as mentioned above (sage is also a plug-in which gives you rss in your browser window) and the next version of osx tiger has rsss built in to safari…theres even plug-ins now for IM clients in your browser, not to mention desktop jabber clients, such as gush, which put rss and im into one desktop app which communicates across all IM gateways. Convergence is happening in may ways, not just with devices. So if the content is interesting to any target group, be it young or old, they will use whatever tools they can to access it…. and the next generation of software tools is integrating these worlds into one informational user space. rss feeds of fotos are also more likely to be used by youth, and you see that pattern happening on phone/moblog/mms sites. The opportunities for branding here have not even begun to take hold because the providers are still sitting on the delivery mechanisms, but i can imagine rss feeds of mms photos with branding from a sponsor being not in the too distant future.

  • I haven’t one person mention news readers that don’t appear like email, as in Yahoo’s homepage. The links come, and whther you read them or not, are replaced by the most recent feeds. Why would you want a reader to dump things into an email interface at all is my question?

  • Danah, do you think youth usage would change if devices like your beloved Sidekick had a really good rss/atom reader? If you never had to check – your device would just go ding when there was an update – and you had it with you 24/7?

  • RSS is certainly not a panacea. It’s a technology. Right now it’s a very visible technology, which to me means it’s still solely in the realm of the early adopters. Until it disappears as a “technology” and simply becomes “baked in” to other applications (the Firefox example above is a good example), many of Danah’s comments ring true. That being said, there are some interesting possibilities. But until the information consumers have an easy way of getting RSS-based information, and no longer have to worry about readers, configuration, and the like, it will remain a niche/fringe technology for them.

  • RSS is certainly not a panacea. It’s a technology. Right now it’s a very visible technology, which to me means it’s still solely in the realm of the early adopters. Until it disappears as a “technology” and simply becomes “baked in” to other applications (the Firefox example above is a good example), many of Danah’s comments ring true. That being said, there are some interesting possibilities. But until the information consumers have an easy way of getting RSS-based information, and no longer have to worry about readers, configuration, and the like, it will remain a niche/fringe technology for them.

  • (I stopped reading things via RSS feeds about a year ago.) RSS feeds, to me, embed a philosophy about how to *control* things (generically, information). To some degree, it’s a search for total control over things–so, there is a lot of “progress” hype about how it’s going to get better, and also peer pressure for one to make more of it personally (e.g., read every feed before bed like your friends do).

    Generally, I think RSS appeals to a kind-of uptightness we adults have more than kids. We’re more uptight about information.

    Practically, we (adults) get a lot of information shoved at us that we have to deal with, out of our control–so there is a lot of appeal to being able to personally be in control of what we get. Kids probably don’t have to deal with so much info shoved at them that they have to deal with.

    But, generally, I think RSS has a bit of the stench of being something uptight responsibile adults get obsessed with!

  • Blogging and Youth Culture

    The real growth in blogging and syndication is amongst Xanga and Livejournal users and these systems are walled gardens. RSS…

  • Hi Danah, I keep trying to catch you at these conferences, missed you at the BlogOn and then the Web2.0. Anyway, Dan Gould sent me this post of yours, which is very striking to me. I’ll cut/paste snippets of my reply to Dan here:

    “I think Danah’s right, insomuch as most people still don’t think of blogging as a messaging medium, and the blogosphere as a pool of live messages, but rather a publishing/news/diary medium, where the only reaction is static, after-the-fact comments on the blog itself or links in counterpart blog posts.”

    “However, if blogging becomes a live messaging medium, and the live response functionality is worked in, then the blogosphere, coupled w/ real-time feed readers, could serve the IM-generation, as well as the technorati.”

    “Your suggestion of PubSub, which I tried Saturday, together with Gush, helped me see that the blogosphere and counterpart real-time readers might just pull off the idea of “the instant message in a bottle”, but there are a few missing pieces, such as how to respond in real-time to the other blogger, so I’m still investigating. I’m hoping the tools are already out there and just need a Frankenstein to put them together and bring the whole to life :)”

  • Hi Danah, My daughter is sixteen and she blocks me from using IM with her. IM is her medium for communication and I can not intrude. If I do get through to her for some reason, she will type: “Stop, go away, I don’t talk to you here”. There is a real divide the way kids communicate and the way we might choose too. For example, my kids know that I blog, but they would never dream of blogging, it seems, too self indulgent to them and takes to much time. They like the immediacy of IM. Their plans formulate in thin air and all of a sudden they meet somewhere in the flesh. Wierd.

    BTW, maybe when Safari adds RSS feeds kids will start to catch on.

  • I use both LJ and Bloglines.

    The ability to make “friends-only” posts in LJ and read other people’s friends-only posts is a major benefit of LJ for me. For any given entry one can choose one’s level of security. People can say things on LJ that they couldn’t say on a more public weblog, and give access to a limited number of people. That has been a big factor in LJ’s adoption by younger users.

    I use Bloglines for big-time general weblogs and LJ for more personal reading. For something like Brad Delong’s journal that has a lot of lengthy posts it’s easier to read it with Bloglines than with LJ’s interface… although it can be done in LJ if you want to.

  • Through the history of electric/electronic communication, there has been a significant generational difference between (in broad terms) those who have adopted a given technology, and those who have been socialized within the technology. In fact, this has been true throughout the history of communication all the way back to the adoption of the phonetic alphabet, and Plato’s observations thereof. (This is the realm of Twyla Gibson’s work.)

    So danah’s observations are spot on, and can be explained (at least one way, from a media theory ground) as the difference between those for whom, in this case, connectivity is figure (noticed, and must be accommodated) and those for whom it is ground (unnoticed, invisible and just part of life.) The old (and young) “fogeys” adopted connectivity technologies and thus cognitively “map” our usage back to models of email, listservs, usenet, and so forth. For many in this group, for instance, these technologies are literate forms and behave like books, the press, publishing, and so forth.

    “Youth” who do not remember life before connection have no such perceptual baggage. For them, these technologies that enable ubiquitous connectivity are all oral forms (cf. Walter J. Ong, Orality and Literacy) and result in the experience of pervasive proximity – literally they “stay in touch” with those of their tribe that remain relevant.

    As for the RSS-boosters for corporate communications, they are, as Marshall McLuhan would remind them, “living in the rear-view mirror.” Dominance in this world will go to those who enable and amplify voice, participatory creation, and involvement in depth.

  • I, being a “kid” feel I should give some imput here. Livejournal feeds and syndicated accounts have been one of the best ways to communicate between us young bloggers and livejournalers.
    Among us youth, the livejournal folks are seen as more immature and the bloggers are the geeks and techies, so now we can read each other within the confort of our “home environments” Now I syndicate my blog into livejournal, so my friends can view my blog without leaving their little safe bubble (livejournal friends lists), and I stay in my safe little bubble (feed demon).
    I think it’s less about how it’s presented and more about what we understand and stereotype, many of my friends (livejournal users) won’t read blogs because they assume the content will be complicated, bloggers tend to stay away from livejournal because it’s full of everyday fluff and teeny-boppers.

  • I have to say that i’m really really appreciating these different vantage points on my rant. I will write more later, but thank you.

  • a culture of feeds: syndication and youth culture

    I just crafted a long essay on feeds and youth culture over at apophenia. I’m interested in how youth are consuming feeds very differently than adults and how the differences seem to be connected to the IM/email division. Feed madness rang throug…

  • a culture of feeds: syndication and youth culture

    I just crafted a long essay on feeds and youth culture over at apophenia. I’m interested in how youth are consuming feeds very differently than adults and how the differences seem to be connected to the IM/email division. Feed madness rang through the …

  • Why don’t you check your email?

    A very interesting piece about how people are beginning to use Instant Messaging instead of email. It’s quite counterintuitive, but it does seem to correlate in one particular college student I know pretty well. “Youth use email to talk with parents an…

  • Why don’t you check your email?

    A very interesting piece about how people are beginning to use Instant Messaging instead of email. It’s quite counterintuitive, but it does seem to correlate in one particular college student I know pretty well. “Youth use email to talk with parents an…

  • Why don’t you check your email?

    A very interesting piece about how people are beginning to use Instant Messaging instead of email. It’s quite counterintuitive, but it does seem to correlate in one particular college student I know pretty well. “Youth use email to talk with parents an…

  • RSS Whack-a-mole

    Danah Boyd believes that the RSS hype won’t meet the reality. Why? Because feeds are impersonal, and people go to blogs precisely for that personal and personalized touch. She writes: Syndication is based on an email model, relatively close to a mai…

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  • [Blog Basics] Feed: Set Content Free

    初玩Blog時,”常都有一個疑問:為何在不同的Blog上也會見到XML的icon呢?Blog與XML有甚麼親密-係呢?閱讀了一些相-文章之後才學懂這個XML icon所代表的東西,稱為Content Feed。 除了XML icon之…

  • IM and RSS are two perfectly complimentary technologies for two distinctly different types of content. If you start melding the two, you screw them both up. If I ever started getting IM popups everytime Autoblog updated, I’d go nuts. Similarly, I want my friends popping up on IM or on the phone when they need to tell me something quick or wonder where I am. I don’t need my IMs aggregated into a single browser.

    As for e-mail itself, I wouldn’t mind my e-mails aggregated into an RSS feed to be read out of my Feedburner. And the idea of giving mobile devices the power to read RSS feeds is great.

  • IM Rules Youth Culture

    Om Malik at GigaOm linked to a great post on Danah Boyd’s blog Apophenia about Melora Zaner’s research (my friend’s sister’s hairdresser’s…ok) on why IM reigns supreme in youth culture and why RSS feeds and aggregators may not be as…

  • a culture of feeds: syndication and youth culture

    …IM is where the action is.

  • Youth Evolving Online

    A while back I asked people to make a list of sites they visit everyday. I was finding that there was an increasingly long list of places I visited daily and I was curious if others behaved similarly. What I found ended up changing much of my thinking …

  • Info channel demographics

    Info channel demographics: Danah Boyd compares usage patterns for “RSS”, instant-messaging, email… this summary from Om Malik may show only one part of the picture, where he quotes how some youth groups seem to rely more on in-group communications th…

  • Great article. Also good comment from Geodog, which I think has the money quote: “RSS feeds are event streams …. personally re-mixed event feeds.” Eyebeam’s ongoing ReBlog project (http://reblog.org/) is addressing this use of RSS, helping to formalize the process of creating a third-party information source like Boing Boing or any of the other link feeds. Feeds don’t necessarily come from the originator of the news item, but they may come from a curator or DJ, mixing personal information, interesting sites, images or audio, articles from news sites, etc.

  • LJ and Xanga… WTF?

    Apophenia has an interesting post about how younger generations consume content. I often wonder how younger generations interact with interweb technology, and how it differs from my the interactions of my own generation… in fact, it’s hard to general…

  • LJ and Xanga… WTF?

    Apophenia has an interesting post about how younger generations consume content: Youth use email to talk with parents and authorities (including corporate emails like from Xanga); it’s where they get the functional stuff. They check email once a day. T…

  • Youth Evolving Online

    A while back I asked people to make a list of sites they visit everyday. I was finding that there was an increasingly long list of places I visited daily and I was curious if others behaved similarly. What I found ended up changing much of my thinking …

  • Youth Evolving Online

    A while back I asked people to make a list of sites they visit everyday. I was finding that there was an increasingly long list of places I visited daily and I was curious if others behaved similarly. What I found ended up changing much of my thinking …

  • Terry Leach

    You are right there is a generation gap. The youth of today are more real-time they are using IM to break down the barriors of space and time. I will have to think more deeply about the implications about where this is leading.