Alex Barnett:The middleman won’t go away, he’ll just move.
referencing this by Matt Terenzio (who’s been active in the OPML Editor community recently as well)
Good points from both Matt and Alex in this interchange.
I see Matt’s point that eventually we’re going to be pushing all of this stuff out to the edges and that connections between us are going to be more and more P2P, but agree with what I hear Alex saying, that discovering those connections will require aggregation, collation, distribution (and hopefully filtering). It is/will be inefficient for all of those processes to happen at the client/peer level, so what Matt sees as a disintermediation I see as an opportunity for ever more transparent intermediation. It’s not that the data intermediaries will go away; it’s that they’ll become so pervasive and invisible that we’ll use them without thinking (which is both boon and danger, perhaps).
On the other hand, I do not see the web going away. Evolving perhaps, but I compare RSS and associated technologies to a tachometer in your car. For most of us, the speedometer in our car, and the RPM meter that comes with the machine, provide more than enough information for us to get what we want out of a vehicle. For hard-core auto enthusaists, however, they want more detailed information and require a more sophisticated device. Technology can be seen in a similar fashion. My wife will find what she needs on the web with intermediaries and web pages and will never need (or want) anything more than that. For a long time to come the same thing will be true of other web users. But for the information hounds (Matt, myself (sometimes), and Alex among them, perhaps) we’ll need more sophisticated tools.