Publi-sumption: Merging Publication, Curation and Subscription


For web users--not advertisers--the web does three great things.

Publish, Curate, Subscribe. Or one thing: called "publi-sumption": publication and consumption made possible through the subscription model.



  • I write short messages--the size of an SMS message.
  • I write a little blurb.
  • I write an essay.
  • I take photos I want the world to see.
  • Maybe I make some videos.

I want to share these.

Maybe some are for the world, some for business colleagues, some for family, friends.

In short, I want to publish with permission control.



I find stuff I like that's already online.

  • I favorite things.
  • I bookmark things.
  • I collect my bookmarks in web sites like
  • I pin photos on Pinterest.
  • I Favorite videos on Youtube.

I want to browse it in once place--and also share stuff with friends.

  • Maybe I share this stuff with friends or colleagues on a project.
  • Maybe I just like looking at it--like a private book or photo album, favorite movies or home movies.


There's stuff I want to read.

We used to get magazines and newspapers delivered to the doorstep. (I personally still do.)

Now I can subscribe to feeds from favorite sites.

  • I have podcasts that come into iTunes--news, lectures, humor.
  • I might have an RSS reader that pulls news from the web.
  • Facebook is items that friends have found interesting--so subscribing to updates from friends: social subscription.
  • Twitter is more social subscription.

This is fresh content.

  • I didn't choose it once, and it stays there.
  • I choose a whole channel or box and new stuff flows in every day or hour or week.
  • Maybe I want to filter it by keyword--like search plus subscription.

So Why Can't We Do ALL of These?

Here's what I want.

  • I publish any feeds or files I've selected.
    • This could be files from a dropbox or cloud service.
      • If .doc or .pdf, they show up embedded--or even a few lines of them pulled out like a blog post teaser.
      • If a folder of images is pulled in, some thumbnails show up.
    • My blog pushes out to anyplace I want those items to appear.
    • My items come in from image- and video-hosting services: flickr or Youtube.
      • Google owns Picasaweb and Youtube, so that's a slam dunk.  
  • I curate my favorites.
    • Videos I Favorite or lists I make on Youtube show up.
      • They come in as content areas or menu items.
    • Articles I like come in from hither and yon--as they do in ReadItLater and similar tools.  
  • Maybe the user configures the interface from templates.
    • The template might be controlled through drag-and-drop layout.
    • Or a simple enough coding language + CSS could be read by the server. (Django uses the same programming language to describe the data and also the layout.)  
  • I read stuff I want to subscribe to.
    • Feeds come in to make my own 'magazine' that I browse.
    • It's an RSS-reader on steroids, a combination of and flipboard.  
  • My site could even be a mash-up of all three:
    • Stuff of mine.
    • Specific items I've selected and linked in.
    • Stuff I like reading that's updated regularly.

I'm basically talking about the subscription model--aka RSI aka feeds--but a combination of publication and consumption.


Publisumption. Publication and consumption together. Social. Enabled by feeds, RSS, atom, API's.

  • Finding things we like to consume and sharing them.
  • Sharing our subscriptions with others.
  • Authoring things and sharing those around different social circles, from one person to the world.
  • Controlling the layout and organization in ways we like--but not locking things inside a CMS database.

It's Google's Fight To Lose.

Some people were almost there and just fell by the wayside. Pageflakes?

Some people are almost there now.

Google has the most to gain and the least to lose.

  • Youtube is their video site.
  • Picasaweb is their photo sharing site.
  • is their blogging platform.
  • Whatever they lose from their users' content showing up elsewhere, they can re-gain by being that elsewhere, tracking and advertising.

Google could probably do it in two seconds: Google++.

With Google+ I can subscribe to the feeds of people I'm interested in. But everything must be embedded in a Google+ post.

  • Why not pull in external feeds?
  • Why not make Google+ a reader?
  • Why not have it pull feeds from blogger, Favorites and account feeds from Youtube?
  • Why not let me lay out out as my personal site?

It could all be done in three panes.

  • My Stuff. Stuff I wrote, authored, from the cloud, from blogger, from photo sharing sites.
  • Stuff I Like. Thing's I've +'ed, Thumbs Up-ed on Youtube, maybe saved as a url. (Why does Google not have a link-curation service yet?)
  • Stuff I Follow: Blogs I read every day. Twitterati I follow. Podcasts I subscribe to. News services I read.
  • A Mash-up: Selected bits of all that, nicely arranged on a page using a few templates.

Start with the Google-verse. Then add Vimeo, dropbox, flickr, etc.

--Edward R. O'Neill



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