Twitter is “SCS”, Somewhat Complex Syndication
I came across a post today that asked “Is Twitter Killing RSS?” (hat tip Abnormal Returns) This was a something I have been thinking about and that I actually twittered the other week so I was excited to see such a post.
Jeff Nolan writes,
Something interesting happened along the way, Twitter achieved critical mass and bloggers and mainstream media alike adopted it to promote content. Every post I write is automatically tweeted out with the post title and link to source, not unlike what other sites do, and over the last year I have noticed a steady increase in referral traffic from Twitter as my followers grew and links to my posts were clicked on… in essence people are following me much like they subscribe to my RSS feed. I like it because the traffic returns to my site rather than be consumed in a RSS client that I can’t apply integrated analytics to, which has the effect of presenting a complete picture of site traffic without having to guess what my traffic actually is when I add in what I believe is bled off through my full text RSS feed.
He hits the nail on the head, twitter is like an RSS feed except it forces traffic back to your site. For publishers this is a reat thing because it makes it brings the value back to their site, since RSS ads don’t really seem to be taking off.
If RSS is “Really Simple Syndication”, I see Twitter as SCS – “Somewhat Complex Syndication”. Complex need not mean “worse”, just different. While its not as clean and organized as RSS (at least yet)and will be somewhat harder to organize, it allows for better Syndication through the conversation itself. As posts reach all your followers and are retweeted quickly and easily to their followers, one post can spread much more quickly and naturally. Let’s be honest, life is not “really simple” and people are constantly talking about “that article they read” or some “cool post on the web”. This allows bloggers to put their content in the center of the conversation.
Who gets hurt the most by Twitter’s SCS? I would think companies like Reuters and Digg. Reuters news feeds are worthless now that Twitter is feeding news and headlines real time. When I sign into TweetDeck w/ Stocktwits in the morning I feel as if I’m back at Citi, in my reuters terminal reading stock news. I have a stream of headlines coming at me and I can choose which ones I want to see. As for Digg, it no longer has as much value once the “reading” and “digging” is done dynamically in the same place. Why take an extra step.
While its not perfect, I think time will prove that complex syndication is good and there will be money to be made in developing technology to make it both simpler and more complex for those who demand one or the other.