Defrag Blog

Moving beyond RSS (maybe)

by Eric Norlin on Jul.23, 2009, under Uncategorized

Something weird is happening with me and RSS. I should preface this by saying that I’m a *classic* late adopter (insert irony here) for a ton of things (I don’t have an iPhone; hell, i don’t CARRY a cell phone 90% of the time), but a semi-early adopter for other things. The things I tend to early adopt are “social media” related - blogs, RSS, twitter, etc.

I think I was pretty early on the RSS adoption curve, and I was a true believer. I STOPPED going to websites. If I couldn’t get a full RSS feed from the site, bye-bye. My feed reader (NetNewsWire) became a monstrous collection of information and one of the centers of my online life (next to email). I railed at other conference organizers that didn’t understand the power of RSS. Like I said, true believer.

And then Twitter happened (how I got into Twitter is another story for another time). It was a novelty, a distraction, kind of cool. But then it became a source of links, info, news. It was faster, came in the “flow” of my day, didn’t require me to “go” anywhere - and I kinda just started to figure (paraphrasing Stowe Boyd) that “if it’s important, it’ll find me.”

Recently, I purchased a new MacBook Pro and spent 20 days working remotely (on the road). I never loaded up my RSS reader, nor did I load feeds into Mac’s mail app. And the strangest thing happened — I started *going* to websites. I’d hit techmeme and memeorandum, and maybe 1 or 2 tech bloggers I know, but beyond that it was all twitter.

Now I’m home again, and using my RSS reader, but it almost feels like a chore; like there’s this big pile of steaming hot feeds that I must plow through and zero out if I’m to complete my daily tasks. RSS is just the algorithmic river. Twitter is curated, human.

I’ve begun to unsubscribe from feeds to see if that helps. I’m guessing it won’t. I think my use of RSS (at least inside of a reader) is dying. And I don’t think it’s coming back.

We’ll see.

(obligatory promo: Is email dying? Is RSS going away? Is Twitter the second coming? These issues and oh-so-much more at Defrag, November!)

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