RSS and Atom represent two competing standards for internet syndication. James Snell recently posted a quick note of some of the technical differences: So what's the deal with Atom? He has now discovered some evidence of differential adoption between RSS and Atom. It turns out RSS and Atom really are different.
However, we need to interpret this evidence carefully. Technology often goes in clusters - one technology drags other technologies on its coattails - and it is not always obvious which technology is the determining factor in the user selection.
(In biological evolution, there is a phenomon known as genetic coupling, which links together apparently distinct features and prevents them from developing independently of one another. Thus natural selection doesn't prove the advantages of a single feature in isolation, merely the aggregate advantages of some group of features. Similar coupling often happens with interdependent technologies, and this complicates the study of technology adoption.)
In this particular example, the user preference for either Atom or RSS is correlated to a user preference for different news readers (e.g. Bloglines versus RSS readers).
- Bloglines readers are more likely to subscribe to Atom.
- Atom readers are more likely to use Bloglines.
In his recent book Democratizing Innovation (free download here), Eric von Hippel discusses lead users and identifies three characteristics as follows:
- ahead of the majority of users in their populations with respect to an important market trend,
- expecting to gain relatively high benefits from a solution to the needs they have encountered there,
- and a significant source of innovation - many of the novel products they develop for their own use will appeal to other users too and so might provide the basis for products manufacturers would wish to commercialize
Technorati Tags: Atom-enabled innovation RSS technology adoption