Saturday, August 11, 2007

RSS Explained

Saw this hand-made video online earlier this week (and inexplicably spent some time chatting with the creator this morning here at this Gnomedex conference); I quite enjoyed its explanation and wondered what y'all thought of it. If you didn't already know anything about RSS does this explain it? If you already do, would you show this to a friend? Do you think we should embed this (or a video like it) on the RSS page at Netflix to help explain this kind of feature? What do you think of video in general to explain things about the Netflix site or experience?Anyway, check it out:

25 comments:

  1. While the video is a bit corny, it definitely gets the point across. I think, in general, people learn this kind of stuff best when presented with a visual aid. And to answer your question Michael - I think Netflix would be wise to investigate this medium as a good way of explaining how to use areas of the site - such as a "Community Overview" showing how to use all the nifty features...

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  2. That's all fine and dandy, but to echo previous comments I have made, the "NETFLIX" Rss feeds do not work correctly. Specifically the "Your Queue" one. It mixes up your queue up in an unpleasing way (I am using Google Reader/iGoogle Homepage).

    I reported the bug to Neflix CC, and of course they send back only copy and pasted replies about how RSS feeds work, and how they are not responsible for when they are broken.

    Give me a break. Just admit they are broken and fix them. It seems simple enough to me.

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  3. It grew on me. Was half expecting Mr Bill to appear for the first couple of minutes, but it certainly managed to get the ideas across clearly and concisely. I'd just ratchet up the 'geekie' and down the 'cutesie' for this tough crowd.

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  4. I actually don't think the video is as helpful as it could be. Makes things too complex. He doesn't tell you exactly what the "array of buttons" does, just that they're there. Sure, they may be obvious to people who are a little more familiar with feeds, but I'm thinking on the grandma level here.

    It also only covers web based readers. Some people use dialup and to use a web based reader would be pretty slow. I would estimate a sizable portion of the netflix audience uses dialup and likes netflix for the by-mail movie service.

    So, while I think it does get the information flow started, it doesn't explain what will be quite common: "this looks like my e-mail, why can't I take this to a desktop client?" Sure Google Gears bringing offline mode is really helpful in this regard, but he doesn't really cover that (newer than the video) feature.

    In short: I think a video based on the jist of RSS and how to use Netflix based feeds (and perhaps a short stint on regular rss feeds from other blogs) would be more useful and prevent questions rather well. (perhaps even a side mention of the netflix apps made by users that allow you to show your queue on your blog/facebook?)

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  5. I loved this video!Thank you for your candor. It makes me proud to be an American.

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  6. This is a great video for me! I'm intelligent but not a techie and haven't really understood RSS explanations before. This was perfect: clear, concise and understandable. I'd write more, but I've got to go and set up my RSS "home."

    Oh - video seems an obvious choice for a movie site....

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  7. I liked the video very much. I thought the low-tech visuals were a charming counterpoint to the subject, and it was all very clearly presented and entertaining.

    However -- I would rather spend 30 seconds reading instructions than five minutes watching a video when all I want is information.

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  9. I always wondered how the RSS worked but did not know enough to try it. Now I know and might try it. Thanks also for the corny video I found it enjoyable and very informative especially for someone like me who is not computer savvy.

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  10. I was happy to see that Netflix added RSS feeds, as I'm a huge fan of them. But I was a bit disappointed with their functionality, namely it shows you the pages as though you're not logged in, so you don't see reviews, etc. I don't use them anymore and just go directly to the website.

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  11. i subcribed to netflix after watching that great little vid.

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  12. I understand the RSS concept and do use RSS feeds frequently, however, RSS feeds from Netflix hasn't quite worked out for me that well. 1) For some reason the queue is never listed correctly, 2) for that reason plus others, I always find myself visiting the 'flix site itself.

    I would like you to provide a feed for latest movies added to "instant watching" list.

    As for the video, no doubt it does its job in the most effective way.

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  13. I loved the low-tech video that YouTube is known for. I didn't know what RSS was until watching the video.

    I found myself booing and cheering with the narrator as he described the old way and the new way. It was fun. Thank-you for showing this on the Neflix Community Blog.

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  15. I had no idea what all that RSS stuff was until I saw this video. It was concise and efficient. That's the opinion of a previously clueless patron. However, as I gather from other comments, there seems to be much he left out? Maybe there should be a Part II. I was hoping for an explanation as to how the things like Google Reader actually work and how to use them, but maybe that it self explanatory and I just missed it.

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  16. This was extremely helpful. I had only ever read one other description of what RSS is and it sounded scarey and hard, and I didn't want to know anything else. This video made it seem easy and smart to use RSS.

    I think it would definitely enhance your subscribers experience to see some sort of educational element like this. It gives you just the basics and doesn't go too crazy with technical stuff.

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  17. Thank you. Your video was easy to understand, and I appreciated learning about something that I had not known about before about the Internet.

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  18. This video was incredibly helpful. I had no idea what rss was now I know its purpose and I know how to use it for myself! Thanks!

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  19. I thought the video was great in terms of explanation! I really didn't understand RSS before, but now I think I do. I would be confident enough to create a reader if I read blogs (which I pretty much don't).

    But now I know what those buttons are!

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  20. Thank you for sharing this. I thought it was great -- so simple and yet covered everything you need to know.

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  21. had been wondering what rss feeds were, thank you

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  22. I wanted to add my Netflix Most Recent Rental Activity Feed to my Natuba page. However, when I did this, the items didn't appear to be added.

    I contacted Natuba about this and then said the following:

    Netflix is not including timestamps in their feeds, which means that Natuba has to decide when the entries were added based on when it first appeared in the feed. All of the content from your most recent activity feed is in your Natuba page, but all of it is older than the 20 most recent items which are shown. For example:
    http://natuba.com/kymberlie/entry/125512/

    Would it be possible to change the feeds so that they included a timestamp and would be placed in the feed correctly?

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  23. michael, from netflixAugust 22, 2007 at 10:04 PM

    @kymberlie

    hmmm... i dunno. i'll look into it.

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  24. I had no idea what RSS feed meant. Now I get it. Yay! The wiki page you link to was sh*t at explaining it. But this video is good.

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  25. @michael: Thanks! I appreciate you looking into this!

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