This Christmas marks seventeen Christmases of blogs and RSS for me.

Blogs represented the democratization of publishing for me in 2003.

RSS was the radio signal that enabled bloggers to “broadcast” and have their signal received on a RSS reader on other’s computers.

A personal publishing press on your computer for which your copy was distributed for free.

Another way to look at it, a personal radio station broadcast to radios, worldwide, again all at no cost.

Powerful stuff, when you pause to think about it.

What a perfect way for lawyers to publish, or broadcast, relevant resources to select audiences . The little guy competes with the big guy.

Need not worry about people you may want to connect with finding your publication or station. It was “if you build it, they will come.”

Google surfacing the good stuff and others with similar interests sharing and citing what you published.

What a way for lawyers to connect with people in a real, authentic and intimate way.

With lawyers as the enablers of law in our society, blogs and RSS drove the law.

Blogs and RSS provided access to the law – and for the average consumer and small business person how to use legal services and which lawyer was the right one for you.

Seventeen Christmases in, blogs and RSS remain every bit as powerful and effective.

Dave Winer, the founder of RSS and blogging, wrote this week that we have made a terrible mistake in “…walking away from the powerful open and independent amateur publishing features of the web.”

As to the popular refrain that RSS died by Google’s unfairly killing off Google Reader, Winer’s right in saying:

“It’s fun to hate Google Reader, but it’s over my friend, and we are free to do whatever we like. Enjoy the holidays knowing that Google Reader is dead, RSS is fine.”

If you build it, they will come, remains true for bloggers putting in the time and care to offer value.

To the extent that blogs and RSS have become less effective for some individuals, that’s more a result of self-destructive blogging behavior than blogs.

SEO over all else, ghost writers, distribution mediums, web traffic as the sole goal, blogs inside websites to draw readers to things for which they have no interest and social media versus publishing.

They all represent a move away from the “powerful open and independent amateur publishing” aspect of blogs and RSS.

Merry Christmas. The gift of blogs and RSS remains very much alive.