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The RSS channel-level image

Friday, September 18, 2009 by Dave Winer.

A picture named jy.jpgA heads-up on something that's going to prove useful down the road, something you might want to start thinking about now. Credit for this observation goes to the brilliant Frenchman, JY Stervinou. Permalink to this paragraph

One of the things about Twitter that really works are the 48-by-48 images they call avatars. They quickly become symbols for the person. When someone changes their avatar it's surprisingly important. I changed mine from King Kong to Don Quixote and people started treating me better. Not kidding. People really want me to use my face, but it bothers me to look at my face all the time. When I figure out how to have two views of myself, one for me and one for everyone else... Anyway. Permalink to this paragraph

If we're going to bootstrap a Twitter-like network outside of Twitter we're going to need those avatars. And luckily there's a very nice place to put them, the RSS <image> element. It's as if when Netscape spec'd RSS 0.91 they knew that 10 years later we'd need this. Permalink to this paragraph

The only problem is that most RSS images aren't 48-by-48 (of course) and most of them aren't square. That's what you might start thinking about, creating a square graphic that looks good. Since many people and organizations are crafting Twitter versions of themselves, this should be a relatively easy thing to do. Permalink to this paragraph

BTW, I include the Twitter avatars in the cloud-enabled feeds I maintain for all the people I follow. Here's an illustration.  Permalink to this paragraph

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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, 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 Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

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.


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