Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Why Feed RSS To The Aggregators?

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.


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

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 (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 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'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.]

Thursday, April 21, 2005

What keeps you up at night?

The IBJ emailed its subscribers yesterday... "What keeps you up at night?". They really wanted to know in order to do a feature on it. Immediately my mind went to... "Nothing. Nothing at all. I sleep like a baby."

The irony is, I'm now writing this at 4:00 in the morning, having been awake since 3am... awakened to ponder an animated conversation yesterday among some dear friends at a multicultural college.

With coffee and Bible in hand this morning, I paused to pray specifically this morning that the Holy Spirit would speak to the subject that was weighing heavily on my mind. And He did.

Subject: Culture & Humility. Culture… our own individual ‘heritage’ even. Wow -- how it can even tend to divide us from other Christ-followers. [For further reading, see Christianity Today's new April issue devoted to... "All Churches Should Be Multiracial"] Is our culture, our heritage… at times an idol? And if so, what should I, or anyone, do about it? How should I change? And even if I could adequately change personally, what should my expectations be of others?

So imagine then – it’s almost laughable -- here’s a piece of today’s Bible reading from Acts 4: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.”

The early Church's behavior -- love amidst diversity -- was as remarkable as other signs & wonders demonstrated by the apostles. Can you imagine? Not just 'sharing nicely', but sharing among a wide variety of cultures present in Jerusalem at the time. And during the greatest of paradigm shifts!

Clearly, that is the answer. Subject closed. Time to go back to sleep?

But I had recently bought a used book at the college… J.I.Packer’s “Knowing God”. As I read from it this morning, it couldn’t have been more appropriate to what I needed to hear next. Packer directed me right back to the Bible (I Cor. 8:1,2) – and interestingly, even in the context of addressing godliness amid cultural issues.

“Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.”

Hmmm. An interesting topic, especially in a college environment… a learning institution, no less. What Packer went on to say hit me dead-on.

"...stop and ask ourselves a very fundamental question – a question, indeed, that we always ought to put to ourselves whenever we embark on any line of study in God’s holy Book. The question concerns our own motives and intentions as students. We need to ask ourselves: what is my ultimate aim and object in occupying my mind with these things? What do I intend to do with my knowledge about God, once I have got it? For the fact that we have to face is this: that if we pursue theological knowledge for its own sake, it is bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited. The very greatness of the subject-matter will intoxicate us, and we shall come to think of ourselves as a cut above other Christians…”

Bingo. Not only 'bought the tshirt' -- I could make a nice living selling 'em on eBay.

Without going into the particular cultural issue under discussion (although please know I do agree with the CT article) the larger point is this… “What will we do with these or any other answers?” Will we simply cure a problem (if indeed we really could), and replace it with another problem… our pride in 'having all the answers'? Lord knows, the Church is well known for this propensity. Just look at the pride-and-divide, fractured Church today.

But beyond just spiritual pride, how about all the other forms of pride that come from seeming to ‘know all the answers’? Answers/solutions about the paradigm-shift, perhaps?


‘’ -- Is it about loving the new-paradigm concepts of ‘change’? Or is ‘loving’ a descriptor of how I should approach anything and everything… including change?

I’ve a ways to go, Lord. A long ways.

“Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Blogging the National City Impact Roundtable...

What a great personal opportunity, to come be with 115 city representatives from around the country & globe. Hear from the great city models around the country and to be able to team up with their hearts & minds in prayer, brainstorming and planning together. It's too awesome to blog... but we're trying... at -- now hosting the new NATIONAL city reaching blogsite, by Mission America Coalition.

Guess where?

[Click to continue at the onsite blog.]