Via Dave Winer, I see that American Airlines now offers their fare deals and special offers via RSS. They’re the first major non-tech company I know to do so, but they won’t be the last. The reason? RSS is going mainstream.
In a few months, Windows Internet Explorer 7 will automatically install itself on most of your machines as part of a Windows Update task. The politics of this aside, what that will mean is that the majority of Internet-connected users will have an RSS aggregator as an integral part of their web browser of choice. A friendly interface will let them know when a site they are browsing has an associated feed, and will allow them to subscribe to it should they wish. With no extra software to download and the scary XML source code permanently hidden from view, usage should explode.
Elgg, of course, supports RSS feeds all over the place, and has done since the very beginning. Users have always been able to take RSS and keep track of the content that interests them from within the Elgg site they’re a member of – or ones they’re not – using an external aggregator. What will be exciting to see is the growth of what has been a niche product into a mainstream Internet technology that everybody uses. It should certainly help people to see one of the more powerful sides of Elgg; why not keep track of new content about eportfolios, or what Chris Sessums has to say about educational technology?