News on the Internet is stuck

Can you imagine that someday you will be able to say to a computer: “I want to follow the NBA playoffs very closely. Find me a great feed, or create one, subscribe to it and when playoff news has slowed down or stopped, unsubscribe.”

Can you imagine that that day won’t come soon? Or that it isn’t already here?

A picture named boston34.jpgI posted a thread question yesterday about the existence of a great feed for news about the NBA playoffs. I’m pretty sure what I’m looking for doesn’t exist. But it really should. After all, RSS was discovered to be a wonderful way to distribute news over ten years ago. Ten years. But there’s been very little improvement since then, and I’m afraid I include Twitter and Facebook in that appraisal.

So why doesn’t this feed exist?

Because there are two dominant products in RSS, Google Reader and iTunes. Good luck getting any new features into the base in any meaningful way.

And Twitter and Facebook are not the answer for news. Neither are First Amendment platforms, and you can’t run news without the basic protection of free speech. And they are not open to new software, so we would be just as stuck waiting for them to invest as we are with Google and Apple.

If news is going to work on the Internet we need a lot of suppliers, both in technology and in feeds. No way around that. No one company is going to clean it up, because if that happened, it wouldn’t be news anymore.

About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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