2 – 4 -6 – 8 – why don’t we all syndicate?

Allow me to come late to the party in order to declare that the data format known as RSS has fundamentally changed the way I read the web. (See previous entries by, for example, Liz Lawley and Edith Frost.) As many of you probably already know, hundreds of sites, from blogs to newspapers, syndicate their content via this format, and if you have a desktop program or a website that will collect all of this information for you, then you have a very powerful tool.

After giving Kinja a try, I’m now hooked on Bloglines. Although it’s not finished, yet, you can take a look at my list of Bloglines subscriptions. If you sign up for your own Bloglines account, then you can sign in and subscribe to one of the items in someone else’s list with the click of a mouse. For example, being the proud owner of a new Mac, I grabbed all of Edith Frost’s Mac-related subscriptions.

Why not make available a full-text RSS feed of your blog, which will make the entire text, rather than an excerpt, of each of your entries available in syndication? Users of MovableType, I can tell you how. Everyone else, you’re on your own.

Go into Template > RSS 2.0. Then find the portion of code that reads < $MTEntryExcerpt remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$> and change it to < $MTEntryBody encode_xml="1"$>. Rebuild your site (Choose “Rebuild Indexes Only,” if you want to save time), and you’re done. It’s just that simple! (I think.) Make a link in your sidebar somewhere to “index.xml” and name it “Full-text RSS.”

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6 thoughts on “2 – 4 -6 – 8 – why don’t we all syndicate?

  1. George, I’m in the same boat, and have a hard time remembering how I blogged without bloglines. (Oh, yeah. I remember. I didn’t.) RSS has vastly increased my ability to keep track of the daily goings-on, and pipe up with my two cents.
    I worry, though, that as it becomes a primary reading model, it will change blogging, period. For instance, I now blogline instead of running down my blogroll, and am thinking about using bloglines for my blogroll. But this leaves people who DON’T RSS out of my daily reads and potentially my blogroll. Plus, since there is no “leave a comment” feature in RSS, that form of reader feedback takes one more click to get to and is no longer a visible aspect of the reading process.
    That said, I’ll change mine to publish the full entry instead of the generous 500 word entry I already adjusted it to. ;) I just worry about the consequences of a completely RSS blogosphere–don’t we, as writers and readers, lose the verite that makes blogging blogging?

  2. I think you make valid points, Brandon. Certainly I find myself checking in less on those without RSS feeds. As for commenting, perhaps future versions of the technology will facilitate this.
    Another factor is that all the content is made uniform: individual author choices about layout (color, typography) are eliminated.
    That said, I am addicted to the convenience.

  3. Thank you thank you THANK YOU, George, for encouraging people to make full-text RSS feeds available. I have been using an aggregator for a while, and some of the people I’ve asked for full-text RSS feeds have come back with “well, if you can’t be bothered to come to my site, you shouldn’t be reading my blog at all! Because you obviously don’t care!” Er, no, I do care. I just routinely have 20 minutes or less per day to read all the blogs I want to read.
    Also: Liz makes her comments available for reading; I wonder how difficult it’d be to put a “leave a comment” link into the RSS template. Haven’t found out for my own use yet, too busy working and unpacking from the move and going to firefly. :)

  4. Since you’ve switched to the Mac, you ought to check out NewNewsWire Light. Get it from MacUpdate.com. It’s a wonderful thing (and Atom support is coming, apparently)

  5. An Open Letter to All Those Blogging Folks I Love to Read

    George recently issued a plea for bloggers to make full-text RSS feeds of their sites available, such that folks who, like him, are hooked on Bloglines and other newsreaders can properly keep up. I'll confess to not having checked out my feeds…

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