Excuse the mess, I'm redeveloping the site and my services, and some things are a bit broken. HTML, CSS, BLM.

Does your site or intranet offer multiple RSS news feeds?

If your site / intranet offers several different flavours of news feed, it’s a good idea to let people know what their subscription choices are.

rss-indexIf you’re running a multi-section site, perhaps a multi-topic news website, then surely you provide several different RSS (Really Simple Syndication) news feeds, rather than just one big one for your front page.

It makes me think how intranets need to get on board with this RSS technology – it’s no longer ‘new’ so our intranets really need to embrace this channel, to help companies reach their people in a more automatic and customisable manner.

Intranets are usually run by a CMS (Content Management System), so we need to buy a CMS that automatically creates RSS feeds for our news articles. I suggest we should ensure the RSS is ‘standards compliant’ with the RSS 2 standard, but perhaps you prefer Atom or OPML?

If your intranet is hand-built (and smaller ones can be!), perhaps using Dreamweaver, then you should look for software that can create RSS for you.

One idea I hope to implement in the distant future is RSS news feeds for each (important) section of my intranet, perhaps for each department within the company I work for. This will allow people to choose to be kept informed by breaking news that is relevant to them, rather than just relying on the front-page of the intranet.

I notice Apple provides an RSS index page, so we can easily see all the news feeds they provide, and pick and choose the ones we want to follow. This seems like a sensible and necessary page for any intranet that offers multiple news feeds.

Another consideration is the need for a News Reader. The challenge is getting one installed across your company. Web-based readers (like Google Reader) won’t work because your RSS news feed is inside the firewall, on your private network, so you need a Reader that’s inside the firewall. It sounds like companies need to install a little reader programme (and have it launch at boot-up) on everyone’s computer. I guess that’s a technological and cost challenge.

But RSS news feeds are a modern, dynamic communication channel, and many people feel confident and comfortable with the technology. Just think of all those people who ‘subscribe’ to the BBC’s news feeds. They do so on their phones, on their netbooks, with Google Reader and with RSS Owl with ease.

Does your company already use RSS feeds from your intranet? If so, what Reader do your people use?

[Wedge]

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