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.
With 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
In 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.