Dave Winer, 56, is a visiting scholar at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and editor of the Scripting News weblog. He pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in New York City.
"The protoblogger." - NY Times.
"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.
"Dave was in a hurry. He had big ideas." -- Harvard.
"Dave Winer is one of the most important figures in the evolution of online media." -- Nieman Journalism Lab.
10 inventors of Internet technologies you may not have heard of. -- Royal Pingdom.
One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.
"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.
"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.
"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.
8/2/11: Who I Am.
My 40 most-recent links, ranked by number of clicks.
FYI: You're soaking in it. :-)
1. RSS can't sponsor your conference.
2. RSS can't run an ad on your site.
3. RSS can't pull strings to get you into Davos.
4. You don't need a quote from RSS to appear to be plugged-in.
5. RSS won't hire you when your publication folds.
6. RSS can't pull strings to get you into Sundance.
7. RSS can't buy you out and pay you millions even billions of dollars.
8. RSS can't give you an exclusive on a product leak.
9. RSS can't give you the warm feeling of having a billionaire as a BFF.
10. RSS can't pull strings to get you into TED.
11. RSS can't pull strings to get you dinner with Zuck at Fuki Sushi.
Things RSS can do:
1. RSS can improve your efficiency as a news-gathering machine.
2. RSS can help your apps be compatible and not lock you in.
Today is an unusual day because I have fairly prominent links on TechCrunch, TechMeme, AllthingsD, and Hacker News.
The usual flow from Twitter and Google Reader.
And since I publish full content in my feed, some number of people are reading my posts in RSS apps and not clicking-through (no need to) and therefore not showing up in my referrer count.
Here are the numbers for today as of 8:30PM Eastern.
I'm not going to comment on the numbers, but have a look, you may find it interesting.
A few weeks ago, feeling I was missing most of the WikiLeaks story, I started an aggregator site at wikiriver.org to gather All the news about WikiLeaks in one place, in real time.
It worked, the site is a valuable resource for people who want to stay informed, not just about the smear campaign, but also about the substance of reports coming out of the professional news organizations and bloggers covering WikiLeaks.
Introducing the new beautified version of...
The new version was designed by Nicolas Gallagher building on the work shared by Martin Duffy in his jQuery templating tutorial. Collaborative development on the River Of News mail list by Shawn McCollum, Ken Booth, Daniel Bachhuber, Havagan and Martimedia.
This is very much an international effort. Both Martin and Nicolas, the two main contributors, are from the U.K. I am, of course, from the U.S.
It's a great little community, and hopefully this is not the last project we do together. I have more JSONified data, and more pieces to fit together in the effort to assemble all the parts for an open realtime network for collaboration, outside the corporate blogging silos.
In a heated discussion this evening on Twitter, which will probably be written up in a number of tech journals, I used the term "open web." Someone asked me to define it, and of course that's basically impossible in a 140-character format. I wish people would factor that into discourse on Twitter.
Anyway, here's what I meant by "open web."
I meant not in a corporate blogging silo.
If I put stuff in Twitter, the only way to get it out is through a heavily regulated and always-changing API. It will change a lot in the coming months and years. It will certainly narrow more than it expands. I feel very confident in predicting this, because I understand where Twitter is going.
If you put stuff in Facebook, it's even more silo'd than it is in Twitter.
However, if you put stuff in WordPress, even on wordpress.com, you have full fluidity. You are not silo'd. You can get data in and out using widely-supported APIs that are implemented by Drupal, Tumblr, Posterous, Movable Type, TypePad, etc etc. At least there's some compatibility. And in a pinch you could probably move your content to a static website and have it be useful.
If you write in static HTML and RSS, you're very portable, there will be no lock-in at all.
So to the extent you're locked in, that's the extent you are not on the open web. The perfectly open web has zero lock-in. The silos are totally locked-in and therefore not on the open web.
Now to the discussion we were having on Twitter.
Imho the supposed thought leaders of Silicon Valley are not thinking and to the extent they are leading, they are leading us to a bad place. They have more at stake in the open web than I do, because they have built their livelihoods around it. I actually have not. I support myself with my investments and savings, and if the open web died tomorrow, I'd still have plenty of money and I wouldn't starve, and none of my employees would be laid off because I don't have employees. So when they think they're hurting me by taking shots at the open web, which is exactly what they're doing when they take shots at RSS, they're mistaken. They're actually hurting themselves more than they're hurting me.
If they really think RSS isn't delivering good value for them, then they should stop publishing TechCrunch on the web, and post it exclusively as Facebook at Twitter content. Maybe a little Quora stuff too. Since RSS is dead, according to them, the web must also be dead. I just don't see how RSS could be dead and HTML would be thriving. They're really different faces of the same thing.
They must know it's bullshit, but they say it anyway. That's the hypocrisy. They seem to expect to be able to bully people into being silent about it, and for some people it works. But the dynamic changed when they sold to AOL. I don't believe for a minute that AOL would let them cut off their web presence and depend exclusively on Facebook and Twitter for distribution. If they really tried it, they'd fire the whole team and hire new writers before they let them do it. The idea is ludicrous. TechCrunch is defined by its presence on the open web, and that, like it or not, makes RSS a requirement, not an option.
And I have no reason to keep silent. I don't have a product that requires publicity from TechCrunch. I will do fine if they don't ask me to speak at their conferences. They really have no power over me. So I'm going to go ahead and say what I think.
Update: The new beautiful wikiriver.org, which went live today, is a perfect example of why it's in all our interest to keep RSS strong. It's so good at getting us the news we need to be informed.