Feed For Thought – When Push Comes To Pull

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Say goodbye to browsers. Say goodbye to your "my favourites" folder. Say goodbye to online destinations.

How is it that Yahoo! Pipes did not take off the way we would have thought?

Are millions of people really downloading widgets and working off of their desktops without browsers?

In a perfect world, those of us evangelizing the power of Digital Marketing, Social Media and Web 2.0 would like to think that we live in a world where widgets are the interface to the Internet, driven mostly by feeds (RSS) with the occasional glance at a tool like Google Reader. It’s a world where everyone has their own, unique, perspective, and we pull the desired content. A world where "living in the cloud" (all data resides online) is the only way to be.

Digital Nomads.

I’m not a fan of forward-thinking statements, but I do see the browser starting to look antiquated. I look at the opportunity (and real estate) of the desktop, combined with an always-present connectivity that transcends video cable or mobile platforms… it just "is" there. Everywhere connectivity. Now, I am not talking about a Matrix-like environment, but there is a power in feeds, and I fear that it’s a Blog conversation typically vetted by the more technologically-focused Bloggers. Domage.

Feeds are powerful. The concept is amazing. Consumers subscribe to your feed (subscription is free) and they have access to anything and everything. It could be as complex as pulling web analytics data or as simple as the ability to be notified when a new product is available, or a price change is in effect. Imagine eBay living off of feeds. You choose the four items you want to bid on and all changes are delivered right to your desktop. Your own, personal, stock-ticker-like widget for all of your whims.

Marketers grapple with feeds as a Marketing tool because the first place they go is, "how do I put ads into feeds." It’s the classic move. The opportunity here is in the Marketing of feeds (and not the Advertising). It’s in understanding your Consumers’ ever complex lifestyle, and doing everything (and anything) you can to help them connect with your brand.

What information can you feed to Consumers?


  1. Browsing can seem antiquated at times, but it remains effective and easy to use.
    Widgets quickly add up and not everyone has the bandwidth necessary to use them. I live 50km away from a city of 1.2 million and don’t have high speed Internet service yet. So Firefox + Google Reader is the way to go! And I know there are still a lot of Canadians on dial-up and entry level broadband.
    The technology is evolving more quickly than the needs of the average consumer, or at least faster than the rate of adoption. Those tools need to be seamless –when you visit a site, the widget needs to be installed in one click and the supporting architecture needs to use what’s already on the computer (no Java!!).
    As was discussed recently, Firefox users tend to be very proactive in trying new tools. But they aren’t the majority and don’t necessarily represent the needs of your 55 year old aunt or the mechanic who only wants to order parts and use email, participate in a hockey pool and see the occasional video on YouTube.
    Total sidetracked there… I want to be a digital nomad, but it would be a whole lot easier if rural Canada had high speed too.

  2. Mitch:
    I agree with you, but I think this concept will take a little “fine tuning.”
    I know from my experience that my feeds can get out of control, my browsing experience can get scattered and I have MANY windows open. I can see my desktop getting very cluttered with lots of widgets.
    I think right now the idea that the browser is self-contained and easy to clean up (just close it) helps keep the separation and between the computer and the chaos of the internet.
    I would love to move to a more widget-based experience, but it would have to be a much cleaner concept before I think it would see wide-spread adoption.
    But, as usual, you made me think!

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