First of all, Happy New Year everyone 🙂 So I came across this blog post today, about the fact that RSS is dying and why that should bother you. I don’t really agree with the conclusion that saving a specific technology is the solution to a need. So as the first post of 2011, IMHO, my thoughts on why saving RSS really isn’t that big of a deal.
Don’t get me wrong, RSS is a nice piece of technology. Getting everyone one to agree on a way of distributing content is always a good thing. And as the blog post I’m replying to states, it’s not about the technology, it’s about the interface.
But I don’t agree with the solution. The solution isn’t to make sure each and every browser has a decent RSS reader. It’s realizing that RSS was the beginning of an alternative content distribution channel. But the “RSS channel” has always been too limited to grab the attention of anyone but the most devoted followers. Instead, most of us are casual followers. We enjoy a topic, and the discussion that might follow, but we don’t really care too much about the source. We’re more interested in being where topics of interest might pop up, and then surrounding ourselves with potential sources whom can provide these topics.
So what’s the next logical step for RSS. It’s already happend, big time. And the end result at the moment is your Twitter feed and your Facebook feed. And instead of clicking the RSS button whenever we find a blog post that we find interesting, we click the “Add this” or “Share that” buttons..
Companies, blogs, websites, etc, they don’t replace RSS with Twitter or Facebook because the RSS UI is terrible. They replace RSS, or rather give more focus to other channels, because it makes more sense. Both to them and to their users. Twitter and Facebook (only as illustrators of a service) are equal to RSS v2: The social RSS. You can’t make RSS social by “fixing its interface”.
If RSS dies, you don’t lose the option of reading in private. All you lose is your aggregation convenience. Also, RSS has never been a good platform for serving ads, so don’t argue about lost ad revenues. Instead, social platforms has increased the exposure, gaining your website more visitors, hence increasing the potential ad revenue.
I don’t think RSS as a technology will die any time soon. But it has already peaked with regards to its potential, and already been replaced with something else.