I promise this will be my last post about Google Reader and RSS. But the fact that google decided to kill their reader made me wonder why they did it. It made me wonder if the way people access their information online was changing and if it was, how were people accessing, storing and managing all the sites they check out on a regular basis? Thus I was happy to come across this article over the weekend as it clarified why Google thought they should kill Reader. But it also expressed why I find RSS feeds so useful:
RSS stands for “rich site summary” or “really simple syndication,” and it’s a web format that allows publishers to create a “feed” of media information such as articles, pictures, sound files, or whatever else you might like. RSS readers like Reader can subscribe to these feeds, and place them all in one, easy-to-access place where you can read or listen to all of them without zooming around on the web and visiting every website you enjoy. The “killer app” part of RSS feeds is that they automatically syndicate content to your reader — so every time you open your reader, it syncs up and receives the latest news.
But most people on the web aren’t using RSS readers anymore. Reader was by far the most popular feed reader out there, and its user base had been in a steep decline for two years before Google decided to shut it down. So why did most people stop caring about RSS?
I think it’s probably a generational thing, but not necessarily based on age.
This is what I like about it- I can group all the sites I look at, say for this blog, in one place. I don’t have to go opening new tabs to each feed. It gives me a nice list of new articles for more efficient browsing.
But apparently people are getting their information in things like Tumblr which Newetz describes as “silos of infomation”. That is, you can subscribe to different Tumblr sites, but ultimately all you get is content on Tumblr instead of from anywhere on the net:
We are also moving toward a reading style that requires you to visit a specific site in order to read, instead of pulling all the articles you want into one piece of software. You go out into Tumblr and Facebook. You don’t aggregate all your favorite Tumblrs and magazine articles into, one, unified reader. Everything is separate and out there, in the cloud.
Why? Why give up on the RSS feed? It seems like the best, most comprehensive bucket to manage all of the sites you visit. I for one, am sticking with RSS.