RssCloud: Getting blogs back into the realtime conversation

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In the “Media 1.0″ world of a couple decades ago, where breaking news first appeared in print newspapers or on the 6 o’clock evening network TV news broadcast, the arrival of CNN’s 24-hour news coverage created serious upheaval.

While many news watchers may have stayed loyal to the paper or Brokaw for in-depth coverage and analysis, they increasingly tuned into CNN to see what was happening *right now*.

Fast forward to 2009, and Twitter is pulling a CNN on blogs. Where as recently as a few years ago the blogosphere represented one of the fastest ways to take a pulse of the online zeitgeist, nowadays it seems almost as slow as waiting for the evening news used to be.

That’s why the announcement today of WordPress supporting rssCloud matters. Automattic is trying to kick blogs back into the realtime conversation.

Part of the allure of Twitter is the near instantaneous view it provides into hot topics, reflected as trending subjects. Within seconds or minutes of a major piece of news breaking – from a celebrity passing to a politician cheating to a football player punching (arrrgh) – you’ll find thousands of people talking about it on Twitter.

With blogs, you have to wait for the posts to be composed, RSS readers to refresh, and then…you’re probably on Twitter by then anyway to find the hottest blog topics. rssCloud can’t tackle the issue of the time it takes to compose a coherent blog post vs a 140-character tweet, but it can minimize the time lag from posting to reading, and that’s an important start.

Yes, they difference can be as small as a few minutes, but in today’s obsessive world of memes that bloom and die within hours or even minutes, those minutes matter. rssCloud could be a very interesting experiment for the WordPress community, and bloggers as a whole.

As an aside: I read Andy Beal’s post asking if this announcement from Automattic isn’t just some “oooh, look! shiny!” sleight-of-PR-hand. My take – yes, it probably was to some degree. It may have been lucky timing for Matt and team, or it may have been an announcement planned for later that they pulled forward to change the subject. Either way, while Automattic still should focus on boosting WP’s rep for secure code, that doesn’t change the *potential* importance of the rssCloud announcement.