The case for Elert

A few weeks ago, Amy Gahran, of contentious.com, started a contest to find a new nickname for RSS. I submitted Elert as my entry. Today, I found that it’s one of the top entries in terms of votes but I need help getting it to the top. This is where you, gently readers, come in. Please vote for Elert!

Here’s why I chose this particular name as my entry:

  • First of all it is short. By comparison, people talk about the “web” instead of the “world wide web” so any nickname needs to just roll off the tongue.
  • Second, it has to represent the concept: When I get a tip from an RSS feed, what am I getting? First, I’m getting a reminder that something new has been posted. In some cases, it’s a portion of an entry, in others, it’s the whole entry. In either case, I am alerted to the fact that new content has been posted. This alert comes electronically, hence the replacement of a single letter to form the new elert term. An elert is an electronic alert.
  • Why no web mention? Well, I thought of that one for a while, as the term web has been more elastic of late but I went back to the early days and the web is only one component of the Internet. Sure, the RSS feeds are generally distributed over HTTP but does that make them part of the web? I would venture that no. Much like email can be gotten via webmail, or Usenet can be reached via a web interface, they represent a different set of applications. The same is true of RSS (or Elerts) as those feeds can be read through a web-based interface (like Bloglines, my favorite RSS reader), or through an individual client. However, no browser natively supports RSS yet (I believe it’s only a question of time, though).

The concept of the contest was great and I hope that everyone will join in (and that most people will support Elert as the coolest entry)

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