The Interwebs Love It
You don’t need to know what RSS is to see how much love the interwebs have for it and dislike Google’s decision to spring clean out Reader.
Simply head over to Twitter and type Reader into the search field. Do the same thing in G+ if you’re inclined.
Why RSS matters : RSS Still Matters
Although some tech pundits, such as MG Siegler, boldly claim RSS is dead and some promote the idea that it’s because mainstream just doesn’t get it, I believe the arguments are severely lacking in clarity and depth.
RSS (Really Simple Syndication / Rich Site Summary) is probably not best described as a mainstream or consumer facing technology.
It is a solution that works behind the scenes in many web scenarios and facilitates the sharing of content.
Most folks don’t need to understand what HTTP is to benefit from the technology.
RSS brings your site’s content to the eyes of power users who in turn are able to help you share it while promoting your brand.
For me, RSS has always simplified the process of staying informed. For some reason, the Frick & Frack of socialness makes some believe that RSS functionality is being replaced by the likes of Twitter, Facebook or Google+. Maybe, it’s the pretty pictures or links galore of those places. Perhaps, reading is just a little less popular to many today. The cynic in me believes that the walled garden approach of these sites is really behind the efforts to toss out RSS.
An RSS feed is quickly consumed though and saves time. It’s not polluted by distractions found in the social sphere. Social sites can never replace RSS even though some would like to go down that rabbit hole.
Power users love the simplicity of RSS and the quantity of headlines that can be quickly skimmed through. If the content is good and the headline pleasing, the article is opened up. We dig deeper. Then we think about what we read without any social distractions. When things make sense, we help you share that content in many different ways.
I often will tweet out a link to an article that is noteworthy. I might simply choose to comment on it on some social site leading others to it. In other words, RSS gets me to help you spread the word and create a little buzz.
RSS is used as a solution for many developers as well. It’s often working behind the scenes to spread your content to others in ways that mainstream doesn’t even realize while leading folks back to your site.
Now that Google is killing off its Reader product (an RSS aggregator), it is sending out a message that RSS should not be loved.
It is of course promoting G+ as the replacement and some are falling for the argument that social brings the valuable content to you anyways. However, that happens with a payment to time, diversity and openness.
Yes, there are other RSS aggregators/readers around. However, RSS needs the weight of an internet giant behind it.
I guess spring cleaning works both ways. For the first time in a long while, I’m rethinking my usage of all Google services and products. My spring cleaning will probably mean that I will diversify my internet interests beyond the Google brand now.
Google is doing what it thinks is best for it’s G+ brand. The interwebz will do what it thinks is best as well – a place where there is more RSS love than G+ fondness.