The big trend in social media has been mass unfollowing. You have heard about people dropping a large number of the people they follow on Twitter. However, I am not going to talk about Twitter, I am going to talk about RSS readers. A trio of posts from the past week have got me thinking about how I use RSS. The first post came from Jesse Stay, where he plans to “fast” from RSS for a week:
I’m going to give up RSS and Google Reader. I’m going to be a weakling and only do it for 1 week, but my attempt is to figure out if I can be more efficient without it than with it. With the advent of Social Media and tools such as Twitter, FriendFeed, and even normal e-mail, I wonder if I can remove this addiction and still be as productive as I used to.
This type of testing is a good idea as it can help you determine how to optimize your daily workflow. The other part of the equation is that he plans to get his RSS fix from things like Google Alerts, FriendFeed and Twitter. In theory, you could get the same information from something like FriendFeed by creating a list of friends that you follow specifically for their RSS feed.
Eric Berlin talks about the various ways that you can use social media for different purposes in a post on LouisGray.com. Each of the technologies have a different general purpose, so they typically will have different uses. For example, meme trackers would be used differently than a pure RSS reader:
I’m talking about Techmeme, Memeorandum, and Google News mostly here, and throw in Drudge Report for kicks. I’ll check out these sites during the day when I very quickly want to scan very hot news as its breaking.
Yesterday, Don Reisinger explained how Twitter replaced his RSS reader.
But I’ve realized now that it goes beyond just knowing other people. I now know that by following other people, your chances of getting more news, and getting it faster goes way up. And that’s precisely why Twitter users have kept me from having to rely on my RSS reader for news.
Remember when US Airways flight 1549 landed safely in the Hudson River? I didn’t hear about it in my RSS reader and I didn’t even see it on TV. No, first I heard about it from folks on Twitter.
These are three different posts with three different explanations of their RSS usage. The important thing to note is that it would be extremely hard to see these three opinions without an RSS reader. There is the possibility of managing your RSS feeds using a tool like a FriendFeed list, but even in that case, you risk the chance of missing interesting information because you could not logon for a day.
I am an information addict. I can see breaking news through Twitter or on some meme aggregator. However, I use RSS as my continuing education. I learn from the information in my RSS feeds. I see different opinions from my RSS feeds. I can also read my RSS whenever I want, and I do not have to depend on the time that something was published.
Am I addicted to my RSS reader? Yes I am. So, no, you can not take my RSS reader from me.