Is RSS Dead?

By  |  Thursday, September 3, 2009 at 5:50 am

T-PollI’m on a plane (without Wi-Fi, alas) and the flight attendants are about to tell me to close my laptop, but I didn’t want to go out of pocket for a few hours without throwing a topic open for conversation: Is RSS dead? Feeds have been a favorite geek tool for years; I check out scads of them every day, in part to prepare 5Words. But my friend Sam Diaz started a mini-tempest a week ago when he said that RSS is past its prime. He must have struck a chord, because ¬†the debate is still going on.

So what say you?


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16 Comments For This Post

  1. Russ Barrett Says:

    I spend most of my time with Twitter and NetNewsWire these days. Firefox is a distant third.

  2. Andrew Edsor Says:

    I use the BBC and Economist RSS feeds daily and will continue to. Twitter is vastly overhyped.

  3. Stuart McLaughlin Says:

    There are so many companies who are just discovering RSS and some of the other ‘older’ technologies, that I think it’s impossible to say that it’s dead.

  4. L.m.orchard Says:

    The problem is that the “RSS is dead” notion conflates RSS feeds with plain old feed readers. RSS feeds are bigger than ever and power an enormous chunk of the web. Feed readers that display feeds directly are falling behind in innovation.

    People who get news from twitter, techmeme, etc. are often seeing news that was first delivered in a feed. It’s fine for RSS to fade into the ubiquitous woodwork.

  5. Josh Says:

    Using Twitter or Facebook to replace RSS? WTF? I don’t see how either one is a suitable “improvement” on RSS.

    It isn’t that Twitter is bad — although I personally find it annoying and overhyped, like that dancing baby in the 90’s — it’s just that the tech media is so in love with Twitter that they think it’s the ultimate media achievement EVAR! Twitter should replace blogs. No, Twitter should replace advertising. No wait, Twitter should replace Facebook, blogs, advertising, the Internet, empty bathroom towel dispensers, and the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way!

    RSS is a lynch-pin of internet news and blogs. The only problem is in getting people to understand why they need it. I introduce people to RSS quite regularly. Once they understand it, they often say, “Whoa. I didn’t know you could do that. I can’t believe I’ve been doing it the hard way all this time.”

  6. sfmitch Says:

    I second what Josh said.

    RSS is an awesome tool. I use it all day, every day with Google Reader.

    For me, Twitter doesn’t even compare. I may check Twitter once or maybe twice a week.

  7. Mike Dunham Says:

    This is interestingly timed for me, as I just discovered Twitter streams can be RSS feeds (okay, maybe I’m slow). I’m in the “Twitter is overhyped” crowd, but the one thing that had me considering using it was the ability to follow a select few that I wanted to follow. Now that I know I can still follow them in G-Reader (which I use religiously), problem solved.

    So I don’t think RSS is dead, or at least I sure as hell hope that’s the case.

  8. quiddity Says:

    I use both Twitter and NetNewsWire- the RSS reader is my main news source because it is organized; Twitter is useful for breaking news. I follow only the best and most useful Twitter streams (including Technologizer, of course), as otherwise things get lost – I have many other things to do than monitor Twitter all day.

  9. F. Andy Seidl Says:

    Predictions of RSS demise are overblown (but they make for catchy headlines). I wrote more about this here:

    The Death of RSS? Again?

  10. Bill Grant Says:

    Frankly I am confused as to why people think RSS is dead. There is no easier way to get specific content I want in an archiveable way than RSS. The only way I would believe RSS is going away is if there is a better way to do that.

    Twitter? Sure I use it but I get most of my content from there using RSS and a thick client. By pulling it into a reader like Vienna I can search it rather than read every tweet.

    Facebook? I do use the Facebook site and iPhone app, but I also use the notification feed to let me know when something has been updated. (BTW it is very clear they skimp on information to force you to go to the Facebook site. If I had my way the information would come through in the RSS feed.

    Bottom line, until there is an improvement on the RSS spec I don’t see RSS going away.

  11. Dave Winer Says:

    Check this out…

    A Google Trends graph comparing RSS and TechCrunch.

    Better case could be made that TechCrunch is dead.

  12. Marc Says:

    No I use RSS to read this blog, with iGoogle and Firefox. I also use RSS to keep up to date with podcasts (couldn’t find a decent podcast aggregator so I wrote my own).

    The days of people proving a feed for anything and everything may be gone, because RSS, like Twitter now, was a fad. Now it’s just being used where it is most useful.

  13. Matthias Says:

    Your questionaire isn’t terribly useful. Do I use RSS? yes, all day, every day. Will I continue to use RSS to read blogs etc. Definately. Google reader is fantastic for multiple computers/devices.

  14. Simon Says:

    I dont know what I would do without RSS, it saves me a ton of time as I read about 50 sites daily

  15. Finn Jack Says:

    Actually it is timely issue. Sure, It is not going to be consistent. Twitter replaces RSS but not completely. RSS gives a detailed view of things whereas Twitter can only make things burst fast with short messages.

  16. Bouke Timbermont Says:

    I use RSS all the time, mainly as Live bookmarks in Firefox. I think it’s Firefox’s implementation of Live Bookmarks is a great way to quickly view headlines and pick out topics you’re interested in.

    But here’s RSS’s problem (I think): I’ve shown RSS (or better: Live Bookmarks) to a few people, and they always love it, but never heard of RSS before. People just don’t KNOW it, which is why it still is, and imo will stay, a geektool.

    I sure hope it’ll stay around for a while, cause I I sue it for all my newssites, including Technologizer… And I don’t feel like visiting homepages again just to see if there’s a topic I care about.