Monday, October 5, 2009

Salem needs RSS feeds on all city web pages

Here's an example of a government official using a website with an RSS [Real Simple Syndication] feed . . . look at the little blue square icon on the right side of the web address; that's an RSS subscription link icon.

An RSS feed is a tool for dramatically improved citizen information and participation (for free!) because it means that every time the destination page has new content, everyone who cares about that page will automatically be informed. In other words, citizens don't have to keep checking a website only to find that nothing has changed (which discourages people from checking, which means they miss things that eventually are posted).

I spoke to Chuck Bennett about this just this morning -- given how difficult these are to get going, I should hope that we could have all of the City of Salem's pages offering RSS feeds by the end of the week (it really is that easy).

And feel free to notice the RSS link on this blog, and to click on it to subscribe to the feed for new posts here. The more people we have in Salem who use this smart idea, the more likely that it will eventually penetrate into the City of Salem site.

P.S. If you don't know why an RSS feed is so useful and how much a difference it makes, watch this short "RSS in Plain English" video:

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