Google recently announced it is killing off several of its services, which it does from time to time. Really, that’s what any good company does; cut the dead weight.
Usually these announcements include a bit of “Awww, that’s too bad” and we move on with our day. This time though, Google cut services for a tool that isn’t just “popular.” Google Reader is the bedrock for how many people collect information on the Internet.
But is this just a sign of RSS feeds becoming a part of Internet Past?
Before Google announced they were shutting down Reader, I hadn’t looked at my feed in months, maybe a year, or more. What’s more, I hadn’t actively used it in at least two years. The reactions to this spanned from, “ERMAHGERD! GERRGLE IS KERLLING MAH NERZ!” to the San Jose Mercury News calling it a business opportunity. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve already guessed my reaction to the news was a giant “meh.”
This is mainly because Twitter has become my RSS feed over the last couple of years. As I said in that back and forth, I have imported all of my Google Reader stuff into Feedly, but … as opposed to what my buddy Nathan Burgess said about this being the first nail in the coffin for Google, I’ll propose a different coffin.
I think this could be the beginning of the end for the RSS feed.
An RSS feed is really just another stop I have to make in my daily intake of information. TweetDeck is constantly up in the background, and with the wide diversity of people I follow, I find more interesting articles than I could ever find on my own with an RSS feed.
If social media, and the Internet experience in general, is founded on groups, other people, and relationships, why are we still depending on ourselves to find all the news that’s relevant to us?
That’s not to say we shouldn’t be seeking out information on our own. As of this writing, I follow a bit more than 1,300 people. I follow CEOs, entrepreneurs, reporters, athletes, celebrities, college students, and many other types of folks. Each of those people have varying interests from mine and different networks.
There is no way I could ever match the richness of those information streams on my own, which is what an RSS feed requires.
The way we consume news has changed from when RSS feeds debuted.
Our networks are much more efficient at aggregating and gathering information relevant to us because they’re different from us. I find interesting tidbits on all sorts of topics every day that I never would have sought out on my own.
That’s why we connect with people anyway, right? They provide some kind of return. Maybe it’s a laugh, a different perspective, or insight into a particular topic. Call it a lack of self confidence if you want, but I believe my network is a better way of collecting information than simply me adding feeds to my RSS list.
Image: warrantedarrest via Flickr CC 2.0
janemckaycomms Thanks for sharing, Jane! cc shonali
Feedly and Triberr – FOR THE WIN!
seanmcginnis shonali Thanks for sharing, Sean!
ShellyKramer MattLaCasse shonali
kathikruse Thanks for sharing, Kathi! cc shonali
I don’t think RSS is dead but that may be because I’m using it differently. I use Reader/Feedly/whatever tool to make sure I’m reading articles my clients need me to read. If I’m not “on Twitter” all day I could very easily miss those.
I also have things in my Reader feed I don’t follow on Twitter because, while it’s important to read them for my business, I don’t care for their Twitter feeds. For me to replace RSS with Twitter would mean I’m only reading those items I choose to read and that means I’m seeing the world through rose colored glasses. Doing so doesn’t benefit me or my clients.
ErinWendel Thanks for sharing, Erin!
Mixed feelings. I think RSS is dying as a subscription model. I “use” Google Reader, but haven’t gone there or opened it in months. I’ve found other ways of getting content from email to Twitter to FB and Triberr. If there is a blog that I consistently feel is a MUST read, I subscribe via email.
However, I think the RSS feeds will still be important for connecting our blogs to other properties.
KenMueller I think the model of a Google Reader is certainly dying. Feedly, Zite, and many other feeds are still very popular; but I just don’t have the time to dedicate to something like that. Like you, I subscribe via email or make a daily stop at blogs I want to read. otherwise, I depend on my network to provide me great info.
SpinSucks MattLaCasse Very interesting point.
AimeelWest SpinSucks I certainly think so. shonali disagrees with me.
MattLaCasse How boring life would be if we agreed with each other all the time… AimeelWest SpinSucks
shonali Boring enough that I’d sleep for many hours each day. Which based on Libby’s sleep patterns…I’m OK with. ;) AimeelWest SpinSucks
shonali How are you, by the way? Has the transition back to small business owner been relatively smooth?
MattLaCasse Knock on wood, very much so, especially thanks to friends like geoffliving hksully and more.
MattLaCasse shonali AimeelWest Agreed Shonali! Matt I understand how you would enjoy a little boredom ;) How’s Libby? She’s such a cutie!
SpinSucks shonali AimeelWest She’s great! Getting over a bit of a cold, but she was ready to party this morning.
MattLaCasse shonali AimeelWest Aw, poor baby!! Glad she’s feeling better :)
MattLaCasse The alluring Girls of All-Time http://t.co/g7VrWtU6tF
shonali geoffliving hksully So glad to hear it! I never had a doubt you’d pull it off.
shonali MattLaCasse hksully You dod it yourself, Shonali! Congrats.
shonali re: MattLaCasse Knock on wood, very much so, especially thanks to friends like geoffliving hksully and more. > And YOU, Shonali!
IanGertler How nice of you! Thank you!
geoffliving MattLaCasse hksully “I get by with a little help from my friends.” :) and HUGE hugs and thanks to you!
MattLaCasse I loved the Vine you posted of her, it was very cute. SpinSucks AimeelWest
shonali MattLaCasse hksully Can you teach me to type?
shonali SpinSucks AimeelWest What can I say? My wife and I did pretty good with her. :)
geoffliving shonali hksully For the low, low, price of just $9.95 an hour plus shipping and handling.
MattLaCasse shonali The question Matt my friend is if you can say that in another 15 years. You’ll have keep her away from uncle blackout
pauljlundquist shonali I think whitesox2435 will become pretty protective of her. If he isn’t already.
MattLaCasse geoffliving I’d be scared of that “handling”… ;)
shonali geoffliving As well you should be. :)
First, I literally LOL’d at the ERMAHGERD reference and pix. So thank you for that. Second – and this is where I said I may have a rebuttal post in me (ok, I said that over on Google+) – I really like(d) Reader. Yes, it’s great to find content via other people, but there is … almost a feeling of luxury for me, when I can read things in my RSS Reader. I enjoy going through Feedly (that’s what I use now that Reader is going away) WAY more than Triberr. Sure, other people find (and share) great content, but so do I. Why *shouldn’t* I rely on my own detective abilities as much as anyone else’s?
Yes, Triberr has greatly increased sharing, but it has not greatly increased engagement… if anything, I feel quite removed from several in my tribes (and there are several Triberr invitations I haven’t accepted). A prime example of this is howiegoldfarb ‘s recent #WUL post on Chobani. It got a bunch of tweets and shares… but how many comments? And the shares happened primarily because of Triberr. So that’s the upside, but it’s also a downside.
I think JasKeller1 has hit on a really good point. I want to consume content the way *I* want to, not the way someone else wants me to. And for me, that means I need some kind of RSS functionality (which I don’t think is going away, even if Google’s decided it doesn’t want to have its own Reader around any more).
Shonali howiegoldfarb JasKeller1 I’m not completely sold on Triberr; in fact I probably won’t join another tribe other than the ones I mentioned earlier.
My point in all of this is less that the idea of the RSS feed is dead and more that the traditional form of a RSS feed is dead. I totally trust myself to find and curate great content; it’s why I follow the people I do. My network will always be able to cast a wider net than I will as a single person, so in addition to what I find, I use my network to aggregate as well.
You do have a good point in the “holding place” for all that content. I’ve never set time aside in the morning or evening to go through all of that. And by the time I quit checking Reader daily, it would take less than an hour to have more than 1K entries for me to read. It just got to be too much. That’s probably more on me than anything, but for better or worse, my Twitter feed is basically my RSS feed now.
MattLaCasse Shonali howiegoldfarb JasKeller1 My verdict is still out on Triberr, too. This is the second go-around I’ve had with it. I know it helps “amplify,” but I can’t say it’s produced a lot of engagement or an increase in requests to work with me.
The RSS feeds just always felt clunky to me. I love to research and find new things, but Reader never worked for that. Maybe I should give Feedly a chance, though.
pauljlundquist I was already using feedly, so just switched to that. Still not as nice as Reader (I differ from MattLaCasse!) but still
shonali I love it when we disagree. :) cc pauljlundquist feedly
shonali MattLaCasse I used reader for podcasts. It was nice to see when new podcasts were posted and it made downloading them easy.
shonali MattLaCasse Now I use Bloglines and I think i might like it better!
pauljlundquist Hmm. I didn’t even think of Bloglines… MattLaCasse
shonali Yeah, pauljlundquist has that knack of thinking of things other people don’t.
The argument shouldn’t be about if it is the end for RSS or not. It should be about the fact the internet is attempting to kill another long form medium of content consumption. I hope communicators take notice that many of the alternatives offered for Google Reader are much more abbreviated and have less capabilities to fully unpack arguments.
We saw it happen with soundbites (from the 30 second sound bite to the 5 second bite more common today) and not with online content, the same trend is taking place. Shorter is more easily consumed, but it isn’t always better, and doesn’t lend itself to complete full thoughts, opinions, or arguments. This changes (and will continue to change) how people will receive and interpret any media you publish. Blogs beware of this progression!
JasKeller1 So much of what I see on twitter has links associated with it. Quick Googling says 25%-30% of tweets contain links. The death of the RSS feed doesn’t shorten consumption, it simply expands that beyond you or me. Links lead to full articles, so I’m not sure I buy the argument of blogs being shortened to a “soundbite”. There’s the danger of people reading the tweet, and not the blog post of course…but is that any different from Reader or any other RSS collector that gives you a headline and a short description?
Like you, Matt, although I had Reader, I’d really not gone back to it for over a year. One day, due to some email address changes, it “disappeared”…perhaps a blessing in disguise, as I found I no longer needed it. I agree wholeheartedly, and I don’t think it has anything to do with self-confidence, and everything to do with using our trusted connections, communities, contacts and channels even more effectively. Cheers! Kaarina
I wasn’t upset about Reader, either, but I never did get accustomed to using it. It was just too full of content for me to curate. I think Triberr has the danger of that with the power tribes, but it has more controls than – I think – Reader ever did.
Erin F. That’s an interesting comparison. I think the danger with Triberr is more on the spam side of things than anything. I’ve heard it compared with scheduling posts to a certain extent (I’m not against either for the record). To me, RSS feeds have just become a bit outdated, no matter how cool they look (e.g. Flipboard, Feedly, etc.)
MattLaCasse True. I’m relatively careful about what I choose to share from Triberr. Do you use it? You’re welcome to join my tribe. I blame seanmcginnis for the creation of the thing. I believe we got to laughing about my punk attitude toward Triberr, which somehow devolved into a conversation about pirates, hence the name “Merry Mutineers.”
Erin F. I am. I think the only tribes I’m a part of are ‘s and maybe shellykramer’s. And I’ll gladly join any group with the name mutineers in it. cc Sean McGinnis
MattLaCasse You’re a member of the Horde? I feel as though I should throw in a joke about the Alliance or something. shellykramer Sean McGinnis