My RSS Brand
My RSS feeds contain the full text of Take the First Step. I occasionally provide an excerpt on the main feed, but I always provide the full text in the appropriate category (Software and Sports). This is the right thing for me — the content is my brand.
Presentation is part of the brand for many of us, and Zeldman carries the flag for those who like to see our writing in its visual context. He hand rolls his feed to support his brand. But don't try to extend your presentational brand into my news reader and expect me to be happy about it.
First of all, I like my text black on white and I find a lot of weblogs hard to read because of their color choices. I could put together a local style sheet. But I like to think that people have a good reason for their style sheet choices. And I prefer to respect those choices (but if I could apply style sheets on a site by site basis, then all bets are off).
And Second, my news reader is currently presents up to 100 RSS items on a single page. Even if it were possible to present each item with a unique style, I wouldn't want to look at it. And aside from that, are you really willing to test your style selections on all the popular rendering engines?
If your web site is part of your brand, then use your RSS feed to drive traffic back to it. But don't expect to project your web site presentation back into my news reader. Because it's probably not going to work. And if it does work, then I'm probably going to unsubscribe.