Tomorrow is the Enterprise RSS Day of Action. Because I can't link to it enough, by way of background, I'll post again to Common Craft's basic but brilliant explanation of RSS in Plain English.
I've been up to my elbows in Enterprise RSS as my firm has been evaluating various vendors and I've been making presentations to groups and individuals about RSS over the last two weeks in particular.
I view RSS as a key technology for taking advantage of the tremendous wealth of fresh information available on the Web. Because RSS is based on the flexible .xml standards, RSS within the firewall has tremendous potential to solve some existing problems and enhance knowledge sharing.
One of the existing problems is corporate "spam" or irrelevant, bothersome email. Email comes in a glut into my Inbox and I have to do something with it--mark it as read, or delete it, at a minimum, which means to pay some attention to it because I don't know what it's about until it's in there. By contrast, an RSS feed comes into an Outlook reader already categorized by the type of information it belongs to, whether a litigation victory announcement, lost mail, conflict check, or whatever else. I choose when to pay attention to that category of information instead my having to pay some attention to whatever's there, lest I lose something that is actually directed to me in the flood of emails.
Enterprise RSS can enhance knowledge sharing. It will inform you if a change is made to an internal wiki or blog--critical for quality assurance on these internal knowledge sharing platforms. As the KM team I am on has learned through use of pbwiki.com, such a notification also greatly enhances the project management use of a wiki.
This week I have been learning more about the power and flexibility of RSS. See this excellent post on how to mash up and otherwise play with RSS feeds. Not all of the services described here are 100% reliable or necessarily useful for enterprises, but I don't think it would take a genius to figure out how some of these "tricks" could apply within the firewall.
Today to my delight I learned from LifeHacker how to convert an email subscription to an RSS feed, using mailbucket.org (tip of the hat to Damon Jablons*). Getting email subscriptions out of my Outlook Inbox makes me really happy. It may let me help others overwhelmed by email.
If you want to learn more about RSS, I recommend you check out the popular Delicious tags on RSS.
*name previously misspelled.