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A new metaphor for RSS? How about TiVo?

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October 19, 2005

A new metaphor for RSS? How about TiVo?

Stephen Baker

Dave Taylor says that RSS still leaves many mystified. He says we need a new metaphor. I say that the RSS concept is seeping into our lives and starting to feel familiar, whatever we call it. If someone asks, try this: Imagine a service that records all the TV shows you want. You just check them off on a list, and whenever they show up... You get the point. TiVo is syndication, with the emphasis on Really Simple.

UPDATE: A European reader asked for a definition of TiVo. Clearly, it's not the universal metaphor we were looking for. My mistake and my apologies. TiVo is a recording device with a large hard disk and terrific software. It allows users to pick out shows to be recorded, and then to watch them whenever they want. Or, if they prefer, they can start an hour-long show about 20 minutes late, and then zap through the ads and finish at the same time as everyone else.

08:03 AM


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Sure "the RSS concept is seeping into our lives and starting to feel familiar, whatever we call it." I agree - but only halfway.

I think this is true only concerning people that know of RSS and it's capabilities. It's a solid service with solid offerings to anyone that wants to take advantage of it.

But as far as using the term RSS, this would indeed mystify many people. Perhaps turn-off a lot of people because it sounds like something so complicated.

Posted by: Donny H. at October 19, 2005 01:09 PM

"A new metaphor" or label could be appropiate - depending on the targeted customers/users/audience one is trying to reach. The label/name used for a new technology also holds plenty of weight in determining not only if it catches on but how quickly.

Posted by: Donny H. at October 19, 2005 02:03 PM

No. TiVO doesn't do it for me either, Stephen. It's trading one geeky tech metaphor for another. What I'm thinking is that we need to get more into the value of the technology, not the details of the technology. TiVO isn't it, but "digital VCR" is something that makes a lot more sense to most regular folk.

Still searching...

Posted by: Dave Taylor at October 19, 2005 11:08 PM

For your European readers, can you explain what Tivo is? I just asked my penpal in Seattle, and he doesn't know either. Obviously its popular, or you wouldn't refer to it, but it's clearly not universal.

Posted by: Andrew Denny at October 20, 2005 06:38 PM

In the UK the equivalent service is Sky+ (and it's really simple)

Posted by: davidcoe... at October 23, 2005 03:23 PM

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