What’s Really Killing RSS Feeds? Hint: It’s NOT Twitter

social media thoughts There are a lot of opinions floating around the web about Twitter killing RSS feeds. I wholeheartedly disagree though Twitter definitely helps to keep me out of Feedly and Google Reader more often these days. I think it’s the apps themselves and the process of consuming RSS feeds that kills RSS more than other social media tools on the rise.

Social Media Expectations

Inside your feed reader, you know what to expect. You know that when you finish reading them all, an hour later you’ll be sucked back in again. Mentally, it starts to become torture, too repetitive for our growing minds and imaginations. Plus, there’s very little interaction with others. They’re not as social as other social media tools for getting news like Twitter and FriendFeed.

Social Interactions

be socialWith Twitter and other social media tools there’s a different type of interaction going on while getting your news. It’s way more social. You know that the person who led you to a specific article might even be looking for a response from you rather than just your eyeballs for traffic. You can’t say the same about reading RSS in feed readers. It’s a one-man battlefield in there.In addition, with other social media tools you get this element of surprise. You never really know what someone’s going to share and most only share the good stuff. True you might have to sort through them all to find what’s good for you, but the signal-to-noise ratio within these tools is a lot better than your feed reader, despite everyone’s best efforts to prune their list of subscriptions down to only the best of the best.

Social Dynamics and Behavior

communityIn the end, it’s not Twitter, Facebook, or FriendFeed that’s the problem. It’s the dynamics of behavior and interaction involved in going through a feed reader. We still subscribe to feeds. We still pay attention to them. But personally, I just love the more social way of getting them. It’s easier to make a connection via social media tools with others who liked the story, rather than going through a feed reader. That element of surprise also helps. It’s like getting a little gold nugget from your trust network.However, don’t cross RSS off just yet. They’re too important for bloggers, PRs, and power users. They just may not be what’s right for mainstream as they start to get a better grasp on these tools.
  • http://www.theblacktechreport.com Jayson Flint

    I don’t even look at my RSS feeds much anymore in Google Reader, or feedreader. I just mostly mark all as seen, but when I do that I also miss out on some serious converstions. I guess that’s the cost for having way too many feeds…

    Great post btw

  • Michelle

    I wasn't aware that RSS was on the hitlist, maybe because I've only really used it for about a year and am unaware of the usage trends. That said, I don't want it to die or be killed because I think it actually integrates well with social media in the since that the content (when shared via social media) is a jump off point for conversation.

  • http://www.authorityseo.com authorityseo

    don't believe Twitter is the reason either

  • Nate Lawrence

    I would have to say that the greatest value of RSS for me is keeping up to date with friends. My feed aggregators have hardly any feeds from corporations in them.

  • Shitij Nigam

    Interesting article. I'm not sure about the popularity about Google Reader, which you mentioned earlier, but I definitely can tell that RSS feeds might just fizzle away. But still, I quite agree with your last point. It's too important for bloggers.

  • dallam

    Why use feeds when you have Twitter? Feeds will eventually go the way of vinyl records in my opinion.

  • Marcy

    I don't think people should let go of RSS just yet. True, that they may “fizzle away” or be like those vinyl long playing records. But can't it be the other way around too? That Twitter may just be THE thing today and something else tomorrow?

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  • Ann

    Hmmm. Why use feeds when we have Twitter? For me, that's like comparing apples and oranges. I have replaced professional and personal(newspaper) reading with RSS feeds and a feed reader. Each morning, instead of reading multiple papers and journals, I log on to Bloglines and check my local folder, then move on to folders that pertain to my job (librarian) and then I'm done. I get images without clicking on anything and I can scan articles and pick out the ones that I'm most interested in reading. It's all very orderly and by choosing subscriptions wisely, I know I'm getting the best the web has to offer on the subjects that I follow. Twitter provides quickness; but, for my purposes, I don't really need to know what is happening as it's happening. I do find that Twitter is the best way to keep up on what's happening at conferences.

    In the evening, I check google reader for posts that pertain to my hobbies and personal interests.

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  • Web 2.0 Chiropractic Marketing

    I don't really think twitter nor facebook are killing RSS feeds, it's far from coming true..