When dealing with customers or subscribers to an email newsletter you know you are dealing with an individual. You can judge the depth of your relationship with this individual and look for signs of their level of satisfaction. RSS subscribers are anonymous.
Most emails are personalised somewhat, at the very least “Dear Sir/Madam” becomes “Hi Chris”. RSS is one-size-fits-all.
OK on many blogs you can subscribe to a category, comments or a particular thread. Many companies provide custom RSS based on selected topics or a routine search. What tends to be common is if you want to change your parameters you have to subscribe to a whole new feed. There is no concept of “you”, the subscriber, just feeds.
RSS can easily be personalised, it is after all usually just a database search result output in a certain way. Why have do we not have a richer RSS experience on blogs?
When my dentist hasn’t seen me for a while he sends me a postcard. I am not just “some guy who had root canal” I am “Mr Garrett” (actually, no, that’s my Dad, I am “Chris”). If my wifes favourite catalogue hasn’t seen any purchases from her for a while they send a money-off offer brochure to entice her back (and it works).
How do you know on your blog, especially if you publish full feeds, if your subscribers are readers? Are they getting more involved or are you leaving them cold?
Perhaps someone has already developed the feed of my dreams, I just don’t know about it yet.
Email newsletters might be old-school but there are ways RSS still needs to catch up. We need an “RSS+”, a true attention-permission tool.