Secretaries used to run the world. We all know that, right?
I don't really know why the term 'secretary' has fallen on such hard times. Everyone knows that the key to success was having a top-notch secretary.... a very professional employee who knew exactly your priorities and made sure you got to see who & what you wanted to see... and no one else.
Or if you were on the other side of the desk... as a sales person... the key to success was 'being in good with the secretary'... so that you got prioritized with the decision-maker. Right?
But then came the information age, economies tightened, and we lost our secretaries. Suddenly instead of getting all the status reports with the key information we needed to read, we were innundated with a deluge of emails from sales organizations, barging past that empty secretary's desk, and into our offices (not to mention, homes), and taking up all our time. Some of our employees didn't bother doing a status report anymore -- you wouldn't have time or remember to read it anyway. So they slept. Our organizations failed. Global competition overtook us. Enron had to take shortcuts. Gas prices went up. Our dog ran off. Maybe our wife. Life was chaos without our secretaries.
Well, baby... SECRETARIES ARE BACK!
And they have voracious appetites for digesting & prioritizing information. In fact, now we've gone beyond calling them secretaries or executive admins, we now call them 'aggregators'. And in order to get info to the boss, these aggregators are demanding orderly information summaries be provided, which they call 'RSS feeds'. No RSS-feed? No get in to see the aggregator, much less the boss.
Producing an RSS feed from your website is like that. It's summarizing all of your freshest information laid out in an orderly, summarized manner... in hopes of being selected for daily reading by the boss... thanks to his/her new aggregator. Conform to the simple summary rules and you'll very likely get prioritized and read by the people you want to influence.
Here's a peek at part of my aggregator-page at My.Yahoo.com...
Aggregators and RSS-feeds will change the world back to 'the good old days'. Simpler times. Back when we were the ones who decided the priorities of who/what we wanted to see and read.
Today's 'innovative, early-adopters' are really just throwbacks to previous generations, looking once again for the simple but effective life. They've quickly created their own aggregator page at someplace like My.Yahoo or Bloglines.com (or the real geeks among us download aggregator software). Then they just tell these aggregators who/what they want to see and read... and the aggregators go and get the information in summarized form, ever-ready to be perused at any time.
Bottom line: They read only what they 'subscribe to'... (did I mention, free?)... and often they're perusing it all while enjoying their morning coffee. These folks know what's going on in their companies and around the world -- they even know what's going on with their innovative friends, and in their neighborhood. Did I mention neighborhood blogs with RSS feeds?
You know... come to think of it... these innovative 'throwbacks' may well be the leader-types that you most want to influence. Yes?
Oh, and btw... if after scanning/reading their prioritized info for the day, they MAY get around to all the mail/junk-mail in their inbox...
[Stay tuned for... "But Wait... Why Should The Church Mess With RSS?" Or if you didn't yet read, "Why Blog? Top 50 Reasons", you may want to see how many of them apply to you. In any event, here's a link to my RSS-feed for LovingChange.com. Just feed this link to your aggregator today... and from then on, you'll automatically know when there's something here you want to read & know. Likewise, site feeds like IndyChristian.com's feed, where you get multiple Christian writers' articles daily, and can keep up on what's going on in the local Christian community.... today. One of our writers there is Brian Groce, who provides a more RSS detail in his article... "RSS Feeds". Enjoy. And as you consider the future use of RSS, see Tips for Church Web Strategies. And lastly, after using the term RSS a million times, visit XAGRONAUT -- our friend Jeff Miller -- as he (nicely) shakes us down for using the term 'RSS' so generically. LOL. Jeff is a tech's tech for sure, and knows why the differences between feeds are important. He's got some great links you'll want to explore as you get into RSS/XML ever more deeply.]