January 17, 2009

Incredibly, enterprise RSS is dead!

My first, flippant thought : Enterprises just take forever to adopt stuff ... give it another 10 years or so.

But that's not really true. I'd suspect that the real issue is this. Enterprises are a life-form with a certain kind of structure, held together by specific forces. Like a single-cell organism, puncture the membrane and it dies as its resources just drain away.

And RSS is rather like a nano-needle.

We *imagined* that social-software would burst the enterprise. Instead, the enterprise resolutely rejects it. No senior manager (who has a certain amount of "between-ness centrality") wants to legitimize the automated software streams that would route around him (or her), bypass the company's official PR outputs, bypass the company's official sales department's inputs.

RSS is an example, but the same is true of blogs, wikis and other social software that threatens the corporate structure. Hell! If you're in a Windows shop you don't even get a web-server on the corporate intranet as standard. If there had been demand from corporate clients, Outlook could have been a web and RSS and a wiki server (out-of-the-box) to allow colleagues to co-operate more effectively. It isn't. Because M$ didn't want to piss off IT departments by taking away their control of the corporate servers.

You may think that new, RSS powered upstarts will come along and defeat the dinosaurs who reject social software.

But maybe the fluidity, interpenatrability of such social companies will prevent them ever growing large. Maybe there'll remain a sea of small companies whose boundaries are too malleable to congeal into the next generation of dinosaurs. The sea will get bigger, and the dinosaurs will dissolve. But RSS will never be "the next big thing"
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