I love RSS.
Let’s get that out of the way right up front. RSS can allow for some really cool opportunities and functionalities. My profile mashup on Profilactic, for instance, is a great way to collect content from my various personal content RSS feeds into one place. I have literally hundreds of RSS feeds in my feed reader, including some to message boards and indivdual blog posts/forum topics. Love it.
In recent memory, I’ve signed up for several services that have asked me for RSS feeds to my content so that they can better showcase who I am (Plaxo Pulse), or better aggregate and distribute my blog content to receptive audiences (Social Media Today).
While both of these goals may be met when I give them my RSS URL, something else more problematic happens: The context of the content is reworked into something I don’t own. Both Plaxo and SMT allow users to leave comments, rate, get view counts, and permalink the content outside of the context and confines of my own blog. Take a look at my content on either of these sites and you’ll have a hard time understanding where I originally posted said content. You’ll also have a hard time understanding that I’d prefer that comments are left on my blog, not on these aggregator sites.
To be clear, I’m not saying Plaxo or SMT have done anything wrong. I willingly gave them quasi-license to rework my content. The real question is, however, why did I do that?