RSS: Up, down, stagnant, plateau, on the verge–where is feed reading going?

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Fri, Mar 28 - 3:27 pm EDT | 7 years ago by
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Being a slave to my RSS reader, I can’t really imagine cutting down much less cutting out my use of RSS.  Connie Reece, I thought, might be onto something with her recent post on how she is getting her news and info in ways other than the traditional feed reader:

The item I check most frequently in my feed reader is what I call my “me-monitor.” It’s where I subscribe to feeds based on search results for my name and our blog name.

So far I am actually reading more posts, by more authors, and I have given up worrying whether I’ve missed something important. If it’s truly important, I’ll come across it some place besides my feed reader. Source: » Feed Reader Down, Reading Up

Since then I started thinking about my own RSS usage and I realized that I’m not adding new feeds to my reader at the pace I once did.  Am I the only one?  Is this the beginning of a trend (certainly being an “edge case” for RSS)?  There was only one way to find out (besides writing this post), ask on Twitter :

Tris Hussey
trishussey Question for a blog post: how many of you regularly subscribe to new blogs in your Rss reader? I’m wondering if Rss subscribing has leveled [off].

My friends didn’t let me down in the least.  The first responses started to affirm my feeling, but as time went by, I saw that the answer wasn’t as straightforward as I has thought:

andrew wee
andrewwee @trishussey: i dont even use a rss reader anyway. i hit 5-10 regular blogs daily by direct address and visit others once every 1-2 weeks.

bnpositive @trishussey I still subscribe fairly regularly. But I also have active Probation, Purgatory and Purged categories of feeds

David Peralty
davidcubed @trishussey I just don’t think people have any more time in their day to add new subscriptions all the time.

ColleenCoplick @trishussey pretty regularly. I find new blogs each week and sub to 1-2 everytime.

Jim Murphy
jimmurphy @trishussey I still do 2-3 / week. But I feel bad for every new subscription. Its like tossing it into an overstuffed closet.

Kim Bui
kimbui @trishussey I had to cap myself off at something like 150 feeds. I’ll add new ones, but I also prune blogs who don’t update

Nick Bradbury
nbradbury @trishussey – I do, but I doubt I’m the typical user

Zach Flauaus
zachflauaus @trishussey If I find a site that I like, I usually subscribe to them. Otherwise I’ll just bookmark them.

IndustryGirl @trishussey, in my opinion, rss is moving to consumer/mass adoption now. aggregators will win for a bit, but people will move to rss next

Jessica Hirsch
jhirsch @trishussey I still subscribe to new blogs all the time. Especially since I’ve been using Twitter more.

So we have the whole range here–from all the time to yes but within reason to something I’d call yes/no.  What this told me was that well, RSS is probably pretty safe.  All the “break out” things that we guessed (IE 7 and Outlook 2007 supporting RSS) didn’t really come to pass, but I’m not counting RSS out, I’m thinking that Patricia (IndustryGirl) is probably right, something is going to turn the tide for RSS.  Me, I don’t think that we’ve seen the “thing” yet.  The traditional reader will be for the hard core folks, but like lots of people read email through Yahoo and Hotmail I see “website updates” being something that people are going to get as something like email.

Maybe that’s going to be the “consumer solution” get all your site updates in one email a day.

In terms of finding new stuff, I’m pretty excited to get down and try Toluu.  I saw Sarah Perez review it on RWW–10 Reasons Why You’re Going to Love Toluu–and requested an invite (thank you Sarah!).  Thus far I’ve only been able to import my OPML file and add a few people.  I’m thinking that Toluu is suffering from the instant crush of fame and their servers are getting a wee overloaded.  Once it comes back, my Toluu profile is trishussey (of course) and I do have invites (six in fact).

Why do I want to find new stuff?  Don’t I read enough already?  Well I read a lot, but I’m always looking for new opinions.  Too often I keep seeing the same ideas and reviews.  To really understand and grow in social media I think we all need to push beyond our usual boundaries.  Finding new feeds is a part of that.  Just as following new and interesting people on Twitter.  New perspectives, new information … ah love it.

Back to the RSS question, well I try to add a few new blogs (especially if they are Canadian) a week.  Do I cull?  Not often.  If people aren’t posting then I’m not reading them.  I guess I should clear old ones out, but I don’t bother.

Now if I could only increase the number of RSS subscribers here on Maple Leaf 2.0

Thanks to Web Worker Daily for linking to Connie in the first place.

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  • Louis Gray

    RSS Feeds are great because they are so flexible. They look good in Safari. They look good on iPhones, integrated with Outlook… they look good in Google Reader, get imported to FriendFeed, Shyftr, AssetBar, Toluu, Feedheads/Facebook… They are the best way to consume data without going from site to site. There’s MUCH more to come. I’m looking at even more sites this weekend that have some very interesting ways to help take down the information, find out what’s relevant and keep going. This space is far from done when it comes to innovation, and Toluu, even though it’s just one guy working hard on an underpowered server, so far, is a great example of this. Just watch how the conversation morphs, from feed readers to Twitter, FriendFeed and beyond. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

  • Tris Hussey

    Louis … I think you’re onto something. There is going to have to be something that can help the info overload…

  • Bill Flitter

    Feed reading is alive and well. Subscriber counts for the feeds we monitor on behalf our clients grew 250% in 2007. What we are seeing is the consumption points changing. We are seeing more and more feeds consumed via Widgets and start pages like Netvibes and PageFlakes.

    Bill Flitter
    Pheedo, Inc.

  • Konstantin

    Guys, why don’t you write about Mindity?
    That’s the same service as Toluu, launched 3 months ago. It’s the combination of a desktop client and a web service. Give it a try!

  • Caleb Elston

    Sorry to be late to the party, we have been working to stabalize our current server, and we just signed a deal with a new hosting provider for a beefy server.

    I find that the feeds I was in love with 6 months ago are sometimes the feeds that are last to get read if I don’t have much time to read feeds.

    I find I am constantly looking to my friends for suggestions on new feeds to read, the feeds they just discovered and are loving. The biggest challenge is keeping my feed reader organized so I can triage esp. if I don’t have much time or was away from my computer for a few days.

    As long as there are new people writing interesting things, I know I will be adding more feeds.

    The other interesting thing I am noticing, is that people are realizing that feeds are not just blogs, but can be photos, podcasts, video, forum threads, and meta aggregations. As feeds continue to gain adoption the feed reader will need to evolve, and there are plenty of companies doing some amazing things around improving the feed reading experience.

    Founder Toluu

  • Tris Hussey

    Caleb thanks for swinging by. I’m getting into the site now … finding more feeds and trying the features. I’ll give you more feedback as I use it.

  • Caleb Elston

    Glad to hear it! We have been getting so many great suggestions for new features and improvements it is amazing, so keep them coming.

    We are actually in the middle of moving to a new datacenter and server infrastructure, so there will be a bit of downtime tonight as we get everything moved.