The Roaring Sixties

By Steve Gillmor  |  Posted 2004-06-14 Print this article Print

Nowhere in any of these stories is RSS mentioned. But that doesnt mean its not there. In fact, it is the new Great Guiding Principle of time control at work.
Just like the electric guitar in the 60s, the MBA in the 80s and Wi-Fi in the 00s, RSS is todays transport. If John Lennon were alive today, he might be releasing direct to Net via RSS enclosures.
For more collaboration coverage, check out Steve Gillmors Blogosphere. Sometimes, these moments flash by us so fast that we dont have the time to notice or respect them. As technologies redistribute the electrons of what we perceive as reality, they can be hard to assimilate. Witness traditional medias difficulty in acknowledging or accepting the impact of the Weblog on journalism. You only have to look for the smoke if you want to find the fire. Thats why the syndication debate rages—not because theres any argument, but because everybody knows something big is happening. Those of us who were lucky enough to survive the 60s know the feeling of being part of a revolution—even if we werent, and still arent, quite sure what it was about. At least the last two presidential campaigns were fought about it, and this next one will be, too. Thats why Im just as sure about RSS today—not because I understand it, or ever will, as a logical series of events or ideas that will one day be looked back on as some immutable watershed. Recently, Mitchell Kertzman, an old friend of mine from those Woodstock days, told The Wall Street Journal that when he first saw an RSS aggregator, he had the same gut reaction he had to the first browser. But he questioned whether what the Journal reporter calls "a reliable business model" has emerged, saying businesses must be built around it. "If I knew how, I would have invested already," said the software executive-turned-venture capitalist. But Mitch, isnt that why they call it venture capitalism? Or perhaps its just a new Great Guiding Principle, made to be broken in Act Three. Click here to read a column by Steve Gillmor on how messaging and collaboration are changing in the workplace. Me, Im going to do what Mitch and I did back in the Roaring 60s—start underground radio shows when the current stakeholders couldnt believe what their customers were telling them. Today, the customers are saying they want their MTV on their schedule, on demand, on RSS time. Check out eWEEK.coms Messaging & Collaboration Center at for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.

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Steve Gillmor is editor of's Messaging & Collaboration Center. As a principal reviewer at Byte magazine, Gillmor covered areas including Visual Basic, NT open systems, Lotus Notes and other collaborative software systems. After stints as a contributing editor at InformationWeek Labs, editor in chief at Enterprise Development Magazine, editor in chief and editorial director at XML and Java Pro Magazines, he joined InfoWorld as test center director and columnist.

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