When I discovered weblogs a little over a year ago, I thought it was just another creative idea, born on the internet and, as usual, free for the inquisitive souls to try out. However, the more I blog, and the more I read about weblogs, the more I can see them as offering alternative avenues of information and opinions.
Now it seems that the technology that drives the popularity of blogging moves even more into the limelight.
The convenience and elegance of communicating through weblogs have already led to millions of people running their own blogs, and even major corporations are joining the act as well. There is even some speculation that in future weblogs may even replace email as the primary means of communication on the internet, according to the latest Standards Bulletin from Information Technology Standards Committee!?
The specification of Really Simple Syndication (RSS), an XML-based technology that allows different weblogs to receive updates from each other – something like live news feeds – and formerly the property of Userland, was recently donated to Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society (a non-profit organisation). This is a key component of weblogs that allows users to retrieve information and messages from multiple sources all at the same time. With the ownership of the RSS specification given to the Berkman Center, an advisory board made up of independent members from industry is given the task of broaden public understanding of RSS and to guide development of RSS applications.
On a slightly side issue, but still related, Instant Messaging is also moving from a teenage past-time to a serious form of business communication. In an effort to reconcile the different proprietary formats like AOL Time Warner, Yahoo and Microsoft, the Internet Engineering Task Force is set to introduce some standards in future.
It seems, in both cases, the popular adoption of some off-beat technology has somehow managed to persuade major technology providers of their worth!