If Users Could Choose How They Publish

I mentioned something briefly the other day that I’ve been rolling in my head a bit ever since. A perfect topic for #blogpostfriday. 🙂

We have a bunch of fun new tech coming out of the web right now. At least two of those things, pubsubhubbub and rssCloud, deal with adding elements to feeds that tell subscribers how to sign up for quick update notification.

The painful part of this new tech is that not everybody who wants to enable it has a choice.

Sure, we could all publish our material directly and be responsible for the structure of our feeds, but that isn’t reality. We rely on Twitter to publish our Tweets, Google to publish our Shared Items, WordPress.com to publish our Blogs– the list goes on and on.

Example. I’m aching to try rssCloud concepts out on every feed that I can get my hands on. But I can’t. The only feed I can immediately provide the cloud element in is the one generated from the application that I wrote specifically for the purpose.

In a perfect world (ha), Twitter, Reader, WordPress would say – “Hi User – here are the optional elements available in ..insert publishing spec.. that we aren’t using. Would you like to fill them in?” – Then bam, I get to test cloud support on several different feeds immediately. There would still be a little manual work in notifying the cloud server when things are updated, but everyone who subscribes to the feed would know what server they should subscribe through for instant updates.

Now, spread the concept out a bit — if I can choose where the material is published, which specification is used, as well as what’s included in it, then I as a user have a wonderful amount of freedom in being able to do what I want to with my data. That is what publishing tools should be focused on.