Feed Icon Usage Examples
It's seems like it's always been with us yet the humble little feed icon really hasn't been around for very long. The following are some examples of real world RSS Feed Icon; or put another way ... examples of the little feed icon doing doing some big heavy lifting!
Non-profits, charities and the feed icon.
A well run charity is one that not only keeps pace with technology but uses it to connect with (and stay in touch) with it's supporters. Ever since the world wide web came along, all organizations struggle with a audience fragmentation. Where it used to be easy to connect though main stream media (because that's where all the eyeballs and ear were) things are different today. Yet RSS feeds have allowed many savvy non-profits to have a direct line of communication to their most loyal supporters.
One such charity is Kiva.org, arguably the world's most successful micro-lender. Kiva uses RSS feeds to syndicate it's content and "get (and keep) the word out there" about it's mission. Conversely, the American Red Cross has no RSS feeds in place that we could find.
Now one might argue that the Red Cross has no problem with brand awareness and fund raising however charities don't operate in a vacuum. Just like business they compete for a finite amount of "donor dollars." and using an RSS feed for their "Donor Stories" and other regularly published content would be a benefit to them; especially since some of those stories are very touching and powerful.
The feed icon in real estate
This little graphic which started its life amongst the usual suspects of technical types (programmers, web developers etc.) has found much mainstream appeal including billion dollar industries such as real estate.
Who would have thought that what starts off as a such a small idea could get wings and end up on the sites of real estate agents and brokers worldwide?
Some real estate agents and brokers use RSS feeds from many different purposes. Some use them in order to provide feeds for their news and blog sections; others - often in higher traffic markets - use RSS feeds for things such as their property listings and feature a little orange RSS feed icon which allows interested visitors to subscribe to their feeds.
While this may seem overkill for a real estate site, it's like any niche market: only the people genuinely interested in subjects regarding Calgary real estate will voluntarily and happily subscribe to the feed. To everyone else they just skim over it. Much like "banner blindness" many of us have feed icon blindness these days. We see it, yet we don't even register it's there unless the site is something we are interested in subscribing to.
Blogs and the feed icon
Blogs and blogging platforms can most likely take the credit for RSS going mainstream. Bloggers embraced RSS feeds right from the get go and as they say the rest is history. These days it's far more uncommon for a blog to not have an RSS feed than to have one. From large, super popular technology, gossip, political, lifestyle and news blogs to smaller blogs that write about back packing, whittling wood, scrapbooking, life in France, riding trains, designing electronics ... you name it, there's a blog about it and chances are that blog as an RSS feed!
Art, Design and the feed icon
Some of the most interesting and some of the most obscure art and design blogs use the feed icon. Everything from top web design and development sites - which is a no brainer since they're web geeks - then through to mascot design, food packaging design, interior design, painters and much more. It's really quite remarkable the mileage this little icon has gotten.