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OPLIN 4Cast #197: RSS is dead, long live the Tweet?

Posted in 4cast

RSS sad faceThe October 1 demise of Bloglines that was announced a couple of weeks ago launched a raft of articles about the decline—or not—of RSS readers. Many libraries use RSS feeds from their websites to pass along news and announcements to their patron base. Some people now think that RSS feeds are being replaced by even shorter “feeds” from Facebook and Twitter. Perhaps the lesson here for libraries is to cover all your bases. Don’t depend on RSS alone to publish your news, and don’t ignore Facebook and Twitter.

  • Twitter has killed RSS readers (Business Insider/Henry Blodget) “RSS readers, the wave of the future a few years ago, are now basically toast, thanks largely (we think) to Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of social media (especially Twitter).”
  • Bloglines update (Ask Official Blog, 9/10/2010) “The Internet has undergone a major evolution. The real-time information RSS was so astute at delivering (primarily, blog feeds) is now gained through conversations, and consuming this information has become a social experience. […] Today RSS is the enabling technology — the infrastructure, the delivery system. RSS is a means to an end, not a consumer experience in and of itself. As a result, RSS aggregator usage has slowed significantly, and Bloglines isn’t the only service to feel the impact. The writing is on the wall.”
  • No, RSS is not dead (GigaOM/Mathew Ingram) “While Twitter may be more real-time —and built for consuming news in a way that relies on the principle that ‘if the news is important, it will find me’—there is still a place for moving outside of Twitter to look for alternative sources. In fact, many of the tweets with links that I wind up reading and saving come from either RSS itself (from people’s blogs published to Twitter) or via someone’s RSS reader.”
  • Saying “RSS is dead” is dead (TechCrunch/MG Siegler) “If I said ‘RSS’ to my mother, she would have absolutely no idea what I was talking about. If I said ‘Twitter’ or ‘Facebook’ to her, she knows who those are — she even uses them. That said, RSS does still often provide at least a partial backbone for those services she does know. For example, it’s RSS that auto-syndicates the content from TechCrunch to Twitter and Facebook where she reads it.”

Competing Facts:
Last February, Hitwise published data showing a significant decline in visits to Google Reader, but now Google has published their own data showing that the number of Reader users has been continuously increasing.