Back in 1997, when the shape of XML started to stabilize, I sort of appointed myself Chief Marketing Officer and gave the XML pitch to every conference audience and journalist and interested geek I could find. It was remarkable; pretty well everyone I pitched to said “Oh yeah, I could use something like that for...” and then mentioned an app that was almost never the kind of structured-document thing we thought we’d designed XML for. Flash forward eight years, and I find myself pitching Atom to all sorts of different people. What’s different is, instead of me pushing at them, I’m getting asked “Tell me about this Atom stuff.” What’s the same is that pretty well everyone I pitch to says “I could use something like that for...” and what comes after the dots either isn’t bloggy at all, or is some weird syndication angle I hadn’t thought of. I’m not saying history always repeats itself; just telling you what I’m hearing.