Sunday, 23 March 2008

Feedburner: new help group, Community Experts

Feed magicians Feedburner moved their users' help group from their old forums to Google Groups earlier this week: see the Feedburner Google Groups. (Newcomers to feeds may be interested to read my introduction to feeds for beginners especially if the terms below just seem like alphabet soup.)

That move was inevitable following their acquisition by Google a few months ago. What wasn't inevitable was that they've actually asked me, Improbulus, to be one of the Feedburner Community Experts on the group! And I've been delighted to accept, as I've been a huge fan of Feedburner ever since I were a mere baby blogger.

Having vaguely heard about these things called RSS feeds, I learned from the Blogger Help that if I wanted RSS instead of Atom feeds I should try Feedburner. So I hied me over to Feedburner's site and found that there was a lot more to feeds than that, and that Feedburner did even more kinds of clever things with feeds than I'd originally thought possible.

What's more, I found that the Feedburner team were exactly my sort of people: the sort that any user would like to see running an Internet startup, or indeed any kind of customer-facing company; the sort I'd personally want to hang out with, in fact. They were - and are - smart, switched on, friendly, kind, helpful without being patronising (including producing numerous practical howtos and FAQs for the many aspects of their services), and remarkably timely in responding to issues and bug reports as well as users' requests for assistance in their forums. I mean, people from Feedburner who knew what was going on actually bothered to hang out in their user forums and patiently share their expertise! I found that kind of attitude all too rare, and pretty impressive. I also loved their fun, irreverent sense of dry humour - to me they struck just the right note, whereas, for instance, in contrast I just wanted to go hunt and kill the "Technorati monster" when blogosphere search engine Technorati were still putting out that annoying, ill-judged and decidedly unfunny error message.

So, I was very pleased for the Feedburner folk when they were bought by Google. I hope they got lots of dosh out of it, and indeed that their attitude and approach percolates through to the rest of Google for good measure. They're one of the few startups who in my book truly deserve their success rather than just being in the right place at the right time (not that I'm saying other startups don't deserve success). And I'd be saying that even if they hadn't invited me to be a Community Expert (or a "Feedburner Flame", as I like to think of it!).

You'll see me hanging out on the Feedburner help groups more now, trying to help out when I can - with my fellow Community Experts John Hood, Charles LePage, Mathaba and Franklin Tse.

But I won't be neglecting this blog. Things have been a bit slow on ACE the last few weeks for various personal reasons, but from now on I am going to be posting a lot more here too. In fact that's been a good incentive for me to finish my nearly-there post on Feedburner, which was meant to be part 3 of my intro to feeds. Watch out for it coming out soon!

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