I have a web 2.0 sin to admit to, I just don’t get OPML.
Sure, there are cool things you can do with it – importing / exporting reading lists and the other capacities Steve Rubel mentions including seeing who subscribes to what on a group level. Heck, back in March 2004 I spent a fair bit of time getting excited about possible applications in libraries!
What I didn’t get then though (heady days of netopianism) was that it was (and is), IMO, fundamentally flawed logic. People don’t really do anything, let alone share, unless they’ve got a very good reason for doing it. Sure you might help out the community, sure you might be able to serendipitously find loadsa cool blogs, sure it’s another kind of glue that binds us (hypertext and undertext anyone?)… but why the heck would I bother? Answer: Not many people did, nice experiment, things moved on.
But now of course a very high percentage of people are using web based aggregators and with the online desktop on the tip of everything I’d be pretty comfortable in suggesting that within 10 years 99%+ of aggregation will be something that we technically do ‘online’. This means we won’t have to ‘share’ any more, we’ll just have to do our thing and the system will share and compare and do all those funky things for us, which is great.
But what do you need to happen for this to become a reality in the first place and what will you get out of it in the end if it does? Well, I – for one – am not entirely convinced that we’re gonna see MSN, Yahoo, Ask, Google etc. etc. saying ‘For sure Dave, we’ve got all this great data (which naturally we all agree on standards for) and we’re just itching to share it with everyone else’, and then (I imagine) there would have to be someone who hosts / runs this great feed-house, and get something reasonable out of it – like Automatic with Akismet – you can have a go at wiping out comment spam because there’s a great business model there… but with OPML?
I mean there’d be some great data on who’s most read – but haven’t we got fairly good ways of estimating or showing that already? And you’d be able to see who reads the same kind of stuff to you – perhaps some value in a Uni department but across the web… hmmm – and there’d be another way of looking at a very particular number of blog stats… but where’s the killer attention ap here?
Maybe it’s just me but I can’t seem to see it.