People Subscriptions on 43 People

Right here before Common Craft closes down for the year, I wanted to point to one of the most interesting things I’ve seen in the social/community/web2.0 space: the Subscriptions feature on (You’ll need to be logged-in to see/use it).

I talk about the Robot Co-op quite a bit and I may be a bit biased as they are friends here in Seattle. However, I believe that they are doing some of the most innovative and fascinating things on the Web right now. Despite being under-hyped (which is a good thing), they’re seeing over 700k page views a day across their 3 sites and 43 Things recently passed in daily reach according to Alexa. While marketing may not be their strong suit, creating useful and innovative products is.

Have you heard of 43 People? It fits into the 43 triumvirate of People, Places and Things. 43 People is a similar concept to the more mature 43 Things, except it’s about people you’ve met or want to meet.

One of the most useful and fun features of 43 People is called “Subscriptions�?. At its root, the Subscriptions feature brings together RSS feeds for all the people on your 43 People list, enabling you to track the participation of your “people�? across the Web in what is essentially an on-site RSS reader. carrick.gif

For instance, I’ve met Carrick Mundell. By adding him to my People list, I am also adding his associated RSS feeds to the subscriptions feature. Carrick, being aware of how the subscriptions work, has added a number of his related RSS feeds to his profile, including pictures from Flickr, links from and posts from his blog.

Consider the social implications of this. You can tell the system "I’ve met
Carrick�? and suddenly and very easily, you have a way to watch his participation on sites across the Web in a single location made available using RSS feeds. Carrick can add any related RSS feed to his account and other members can even suggest feeds to be added with his permission.

Applied to all the people that that you have met or want to meet, the subscriptions offer a place to easily get into the flow of the information your people are sharing on the web (with the option to unsubscribe).

Perhaps the most interesting part of this is how it lowers the RSS adoption barrier. Sure, I could go out and find all of Carrick’s feeds and add them to my RSS reader. But, I’d first have to know what RSS is, what a reader is, how to subscribe to RSS and then be able to find the feeds. The Subscriptions on 43 People make all this happen with one click of a button, accounting of all the technical barriers that prevent non-geeks from understanding this new world of the Web. No knowledge of RSS required. If you ask me, that is what Web 2.0 is all about.