Thursday, May 12, 2011

Questioning The Value Of RSS

I have been a big advocate of RSS. I have written about it, even included it as part of my Essential Tools for Teachers and my Administrators Toolkit. Being able to track blogs and websites as they change is a real plus for someone who constantly wants to be connected. And up until a few weeks ago I used it religiously. I would get up in the morning and check Twitter and my Reader.

But now I am at a crossroads...

I have been questioning the value of the service all together.

Now there is still value for RSS. Like I say, being able to have those constant updates to ever changing information is important to many. And being able to aggregate all that information in on place, organized in pretty much anyway possible is a great feature.
But for me I see my RSS use go from everyday to none almost overnight. Here is a screenshot of my Google Reader as it sits today. Keep in mind I haven’t checked in just over a week.

Crazy, I know. The obvious answer for me is to unsubscribe to some content there by relieving some of the pressure of the Reader inbox from collapsing on itself. But then I wonder will I miss valuable content?

That brings me to my whole point of all this. My feelings are that RSS is much less valuable now because of access to real-time information I can find on Twitter and Facebook. If a blog post or some type of information is really earth shattering or a “must read” it usually ends up in one (or both) of those places and gets passed along multiple times over multiple days.

The way it has been working is that I first see a blog post or some information on Twitter or posted on Facebook with a direct link. I go, read the information and decide to keep it or toss it. Sure my reader does the same thing but it’s another place I have to go to find that information. So when I hit up my reader the vast majority of the information that is there I have seen in another place already. Not too often do I find any new information I have not seen yet already.

Now of course the argument is that what if there are people not in those spaces? Sure, for them RSS might contain a large amount of value. And RSS can be a gateway to those real-time spaces. But for me I am at the point where I want to dump RSS altogether and focus my efforts on the real-time.

I am interested in what others have done. There is a good mix of people that read this blog either via Twitter/Facebook and RSS. So if you are in the real-time spaces do you still keep up with your reader? If you are not in those spaces does RSS in anyway encourage you to move to the real-time? What do you think about the future of RSS? Leave your thoughts below.
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