I’m sick to death of people saying that RSS is dead, and I’d like to make a public service announcement about this anti-syndication meme:
RSS isn’t dead, and isn’t to blame for making you a news junkie. It’s an efficient way to gather information from multiple sources. You should use RSS.
RSS isn’t dead or dying. It’s a syndication format that makes the retrieval of information from multiple sources more efficient. While I do understand the tendency for people to overdose RSS and fall victim to information overload, this is an easily remedied problem.
Problem: I’m suffering from information overload because I subscribe to too many RSS feeds.
Solution: Subscribe to fewer RSS feeds.
And yet I’ve been seeing things like this in my RSS reader (of all places!) written by people I have a lot of respect for:
Is RSS dead to you too? I haven’t used an RSS reader for a year and I haven’t looked back.
I just go to site [sic] that I like. I’ve found it more satisfying and it slows me down. I’m less news/information junky now which is a good thing.
There’s simply no good reason to throw out the baby with the bathwater on this one. Eschewing an incredibly efficient way to gather information from multiple sources because it’s too efficient at collecting information from multiple sources makes no sense.
If you find that you’re spending too much time looking through your RSS reader, why not try spending less time looking through your RSS reader? It’s easy. You either (a) don’t open your RSS reader as often, or (b) reduce the number of RSS feeds you subscribe to.
I’ve also seen some claims that “all of the important stuff will make it’s way to you” no matter what. The idea is that shutting off your RSS reader will save you a bunch of time, which you could be using to accomplish more important things.
I don’t know how many of you read RSS, but I challenge you (that’s a keynote term) to give it up for a month. Just turn it off. Stop using Google Reader or NetNewsWire or whatever the kids are using these days. It’s not worth your time.
What should you do instead? If you use Twitter, try following the authors of your favorite blogs. Read their tweets on the bus. Or in the bathroom. Check Ruby Inside once a week and skim over the posts. Visit an aggregator like planetrubyonrails.com once a month. But mainly, let other people do the filtering for you. Use your time for other things.
You will not miss out on anything big. Stuff like the Google App Engine, or Rubinius running Rails, or the killer speaker line up at this year’s Ruby Hoedown will find its way to you. How can it not? I’m willing to bet a lot of the stuff in your RSS reader is stuff you already knew, or heard about somewhere else.
I understand that reading feeds can be a time-sink, but the suggested alternative here is to cut out feeds and use Twitter instead. Seriously? Not only is Twitter more of a time-sink than RSS feeds, but isn’t Twitter just a micro-blogging service and proprietary RSS reader shoved together into a single package?
I don’t understand why this has to be all or nothing. RSS is useful. Why not use it?