I don’t expect most legal professionals, even those with a blog, to give a darn that RSS will be twenty years old in just one one month – on September 18.

But that’s what I heard from RSS’ inventor, Dave Winer, today – and I think there’s good reason to celebrate the date.

Without RSS there would be no blogs. RSS, or Real Simple Syndication is what propels the syndication of blogs.

RSS is akin to the broadcast signal at an old AM station.

Without the signal and tower, nothing would reach your radio. We wouldn’t hear a lick from the DJ.

Imagine blogs where no one could hear anything. As bloggers we never would have known that another blogger wrote anything nor what they wrote.

We’d never have had the ‘conversations’ we had among each other as early bloggers.

I heard what other legal professionals, journalists or technologists were blogging- and I blogged in return by sharing what they had to say, sharing my take. Every bit a conversation.

RSS, by delivering notice to my blog that another blogger mentioned something I blogged and by subscribing to blogs in a RSS reader, is what made blogs take off.

We didn’t have a robust body of citizen journalists twenty years ago.

But by 2006, Time Magazine recognized ’You’ as the person of the year because of the content and journalism being published by ’average’ people.

Blogs powered, by RSS, represented a large part of this publishing.

RSS has been huge to the law.

Without RSS, there would be no LexBlog, founded one year after RSS was launched by Winer.

Without LexBlog, and the passion, expertise and work of a lot of early on legal bloggers, we’d not have legal blogging.

Without legal blogging, we’d not be experiencing the explosion in the open publishing of secondary law that we are.

RSS is moving secondary law for lawyers and legal information for the public (curated legal blog posts) to digital publications run by law schools, bar associations and legal organizations.

RSS is moving this secondary law into the data bases of legal research and AI platforms for soon to be available legal research.

RSS moves legal blogs into news aggregators, ala Feedly, and the libraries/data bases of the large legal publishers

RSS is what moves discussion of the law among leading niche authorities, and, in effect, advances the law.

Plenty to celebrate here.

Maybe a “Virtual Beer for Bloggers” is on the horizon.

***Received an email referencing the RSS Advisory Board and its history of RSS, indicating work on and use of RSS before 2002.

  1. March 15, 1999: RSS 0.90 (Netscape), published by Netscape and authored by Ramanathan Guha
  2. July 10, 1999: RSS 0.91 (Netscape), published by Netscape and authored by Dan Libby
  3. June 9, 2000: RSS 0.91 (UserLand), published by UserLand Software and authored by Dave Winer
  4. Dec. 25, 2000: RSS 0.92, UserLand
  5. Aug. 19, 2002: RSS 2.0, UserLand
  6. July 15, 2003: RSS 2.0 (version 2.0.1), published by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and authored by Dave Winer