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Americans clueless about RSS: study

Americans clueless about RSS: study

A new study from those whacky folks over at Pew Internet has found that 91% of Americans have absolutely no idea what RSS is.

The study of 2001 Americans also found that 87% of Americans have no idea what podcasting is as well. Interestingly though 88% of people knew what spam was, and 78% knew what spyware and a firewall was, so it could be concluded that these certainly weren’t a sample of stupid people.

The full study can be read here (pdf).

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The study also found that younger men with college degrees usually had the best grasp of the terminology in the study.

View Comments (7)
  • Dave Sifry has said that when the term RSS has disappeared completely, i.e. when the process is seamlessly interwoven with the browser, then it will be popular and successful [Blogspotting]. Can’t argue with that.

  • Hi Duncan, this isn’t particularly surprising to anyone living in the US. I live in Northern California, not far from Silicon Valley, and I can tell you that even among my so-called hipster young friends, the word “blog” is only just starting to become known. For middle America it is still a long, long way from being a household word. RSS is even farther from the mainstream, though perhaps Microsoft will change that ; ) I know they’d like to…

  • I would agree that RSS and even blog are not exactly a household words (st least around my neighborhood, St. Louis MO) but I do not understand why the pollsters such as PEW seem to focus on the clueless rather than the clued….those who “get it” are setting the direction of the future while those who don’t should be history books not in polls.

  • Yup exactly ! – Our sites are all RSS based and its hard to get the average user to understand. But I say, give the world 1 more year and that number will fall to 50% clueless

  • MS’s new operating system, Longhorn (Windows Vista), is said to be capitalizing on and integrating RSS technology. I suspect that will help make it more well-known. It’s also likely that many people consume and use RSS without really being able to define what it is or what the “R.S.S.” stands for – sort of like using an iPod and having no clue whatsoever as to the definition of “MP3.”

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