Chris Hosford and I have been having an interesting e-mail exchange about his post wondering whether RSS (really simple syndication) might not be the next best thing in meeting marketing. I think it has the potential to be, but we're nowhere near ready for an RSS revolution. How do I know? I can hear you all yawning and practically see your eyes glazing over. What the heck is she talking about? (Wikipedia RSS entry here—it's a good explanation of what RSS is and how it works. Kevin Holland also has a succinct explanation on the XtremeASAE Blog).
And I can talk all day long about how I can't imagine life without my news reader and its constantly updated feeds to the 100 or so blogs and other sites I monitor daily (or try to, anyway). All you need is an RSS feed on your conference site, and potential attendees who have news readers (I highly recommend Bloglines, which is where I keep most of my feeds). If you have those two elements, then you have the ability to update your attendees in real time on what's going on with your event.
But chances are, you don't have either, at least, not yet. People are just starting to understand the value of blogging their meetings--and since most blog providers include an RSS feed in the package, I'm hoping that RSS may one day soon leach into the mainstream.
Then again, it's going on three years now I've been hammering our tech guys to set up an RSS feed for our Web sites and it hasn't happened yet—though they promise it's coming soon. I can only imagine how long it would take to get through an association's committee for approval, much less implementation, much less adoption by potential attendees. My guess is that by the time that happens, the RSS train will have left the station and we'll have something even cooler that'll take another huge amount of time to go mainstream.