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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Media Snacking: RSS Readers As Personal Space

A little while back, I wrote this post, wondering how much I should respect media snackers. But since then, I've been thinking I may have pulled the trigger too quickly on that one.

Because really, how can I not (or at least try)? After all…my name is Avin, and I am a media snacker.

RSS has been a godsend for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read, and do so as often as possible (latest: the world without us, very interesting exploration/thought experiment). But when it comes to online content, its truly amazing how much RSS lets us get through in a day. Sometimes I don’t know what the hell I did before it.

And lately, I've been thinking about whether I, as an admitted media snacker, feel respected by companies I deal with.

I don't. Not necessarily disrespect in regards to length of content (since I'm kinda being disrespectful to fellow snackers with the length of this post), but disrespected in my media snacking experience itself. Case in point is my RSS reader. I treat my RSS space much differently than if I were reading the same content on the original website- be it news, blog posts, whatever. For me, my RSS reader feels more personal and worthy of more protection. I picked which feeds would appear, tagged and grouped them to my liking, and filtered out all the content I don't want.

And yet, I'm still subjected to banner ads from companies I didn't invite, pushing stuff on me I didn't ask to see.

Honestly, if I saw those same banner ads on the original site, I probably wouldn't think twice about it (note: that's still not a good thing).

But when they pop up in my reader, it seems like an invasion of privacy, an invasion on the snacking I'm trying to do. Often times, it dissuades me from even wanting to read the story (or stay on that sites feed).

Working in this business, it can be quite disheartening to see opportunities to participate in conversation with people routinely overlooked in favor of interrupting. Instead, why not provide some interesting content which people would want to add to their own RSS feeds? Or somehow, make the feed browsing experience better?

Thoughts from fellow RSS enthusiasts? Do you feel the same kind of privacy invasion when ads interrupt your reader? Any examples of companies/agencies (yours or others) that have found a better way? Care to share how you've gotten clients to go in a different direction?


DK said...

As a fellow RSS junkie I'm not a fan of ads in my feeds - luckily, my filter kicks in and I don't hardly notice them. Plus, I can only think of three blogs which do this (out of the couple of hundred or more Im following)... I guess it would be an issue if everyone started doing it but most people are savvy enough not to disrespect their audience in this way.

Glad you're still having fun chewing over the MediaSnackers metaphor :-)


MediaSnackers Founder

Matt. said...

Get bloglines. Part of snacking is the plate. I see almost no ads.

JoeG1 said...

Avin, I'm having a hard time understanding how you are harmed by a banner ad on your reader. Did it slow you down?

FeedBurner (owned by Google who owns Blogger and allows you to write this blog without cost)is the entity behind most reader ads. They are minimally intrusive, mostly text and don't even allow flash to slow down your experience. It is Google's and the individual blogger's means of monetizing their efforts.

Per the other commentor here (DK), let me know how an ad in a feed or anywhere for that matter is disrespectful in your opinion.

P.S. Don't we work in an ad agency?

avin said...

Joe, yes this is an ad agency, but I firmly reject the idea that an ad should be little more than an intrusion and interruption. If that's the best we can do in this industry, we may as well all quit and go home.

A banner ad in my RSS reader adds absolutely no value to the experience, and I worry about this indication that I am somehow obligated to respect these interruptions because they allow me to blog for free. Believe me, I understand the money behind it, but my point is that there must be a better way.

I think that we can do better than this. We're smarter than this. I posted this for the reason of starting conversation and understanding how we can do better (or who is doing better already).

morocco property said...

I don't like ads, like you, in my feeds.