I Am Keeping My RSS Reader

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.

14 thoughts on “I Am Keeping My RSS Reader

  1. > 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.

    I don’t really understand this line of reasoning: twitter delivers sensational news very quickly, but that doesn’t mean it would replace everything you were seeing in the RSS reader.

    I guess people are trying to use twitter as a filtering function on the torrent of stuff they want to read, but it seems so… haphazard.


  2. DGentry,

    I was actually very surprised by the logic. If you are using some link aggregator from the twitter stream, then there is a possibility, but it is still surprising. It definitely would not be very effective for information addicts though. I would feel I am missing too much.


  3. I think that the problem is that RSS readers haven’t evolved since their inception. Google Reader and others have added features to help you speed through a feed. The problem as I see it, is that readers still organize posts based on feeds. Right now there is alot of noise in a users reader if they have more then 100 subscriptions and a count that shows the amount of noise. Sharefire is a good example on how rss readers group posts by more meaningful meta data then by feed. Next step is to integrate signal from twitter and the like into a reader and you’ll get people coming back to the reader.


  4. I’m addicted to my Google Reader and it’s one of the main reasons I know so much about what is going on in the world. I am with you. NO ONE is taking it away.


  5. I read all these posts also, and agree with you. I came across an app this week that I hope you’ll try. It’s called Microplaza, and if you follow them on twitter they are giving out more invites. It’s not really a realtime tool, but more of a complement to reader, where it can be used for educational purposes. Here’s a link from socialmedian where I commented on some of it’s features http://twurl.nl/s73f8i


  6. @smilbandit,

    I totally agree that RSS readers need some innovation. However, I am so tied to google reader right now that I would be hard pressed to replace it.


  7. dcfemella,

    Michael Fidler brings up an interesting application. Microplaza or something like it, that farms links from services like Twitter could eventually replace RSS readers. I think it is more likely that an aggregator like FriendFeed would replace the reader as list/group functions can be very powerful.


  8. Im simply addicted to finding and receiving new news, but unlike many people, I am a huge fan of Email RSS updates.

    I dont use any RSS reader, I have tried, but they just dont work for me. Emails are more immediate for me and allow me to quickly scan and act of new news.

    Twitter has also, as you said, eliminated the need, at least for me, for a RSS reader, as I also rely on others to tweet new news as it happens.

    Between us all, we seem to cover most of the cool interesting stuff. Taking RSS readers out of the equation makes more sense to me, never get rid of email, so having your new news delivered in the same place just makes sense.



  9. I don’t think twitter will ever replace my RSS reader! (Or anything else, for that matter.) I don’t use friendfeed, (I’m on there, I just don’t like the interface too much.) So, I’m sticking with Google reader for now, (and probably for the long-term.)


  10. Graham,

    I come from the perspective that email is for contact only. If I plan no reading news or various blogs, I do not want that cluttering my email. So, we will have to agree to disagree 🙂


  11. Noelle,

    FriendFeed is an interesting site. The UI is very minimalistic, but the river of information can be intimidating. I am not sure if they plan on really changing much of the core interface at this time. I have found it to be worth investing time into though.


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