Today's a big day for me. I'm jumping on the RSS-reading bandwagon. It feels good -- kinda reminds me of my first time with email or browsing the web. I've been writing my blog for a while, but it's been mostly professional and not personal, and I never got into reading personal blogs. So what changed?
It gets worse. I've been hanging with today a bunch of my blog-enabled friends at the Rocky Mountain Software Symposium in Denver (most of us are speakers and if we weren't friends before, we became so after the 10th road show together). Even though I see and email with these folks a lot, there's all these inside jokes I'm missing out on. Seems it's all in the blog. This is what people who aren't on email must feel like when around people who email all the time.
I never read blogs cuz browsing web sites has always been too much trouble. Happily, new tools that pull RSS make it easy. Macs have NetNewsWire, a program everyone raves about. I'm on Windows though so I'm using SharpReader. SharpReader has a few flaws (i.e. hitting Del doesn't delete an entry while you're in the reader window), but it's similar to NNW and pulls in RSS feeds to show me what's happening in the world. It'll probably stay open now next to my email and web clients. As Glenn says, it's "like Usenet, but with only the interesting people ..."
Reading personal blogs feels like having an open email conversation. What someone would have sent to a mailing list of friends before now gets posted to their blog. And with the public posting they give an implicit invitation that anyone who finds their words interesting is welcome to "join the list" -- which now really means entering the RSS feed URL into their RSS reader of choice and hitting "Subscribe". Some people have been getting huge followings and end up famous. Others just amuse their friends, or make fun of them.