Marshall Kirkpatrick takes on the “RSS is dead” meme, started by Steve Gillmor, but really started by all those people who haven’t been using RSS much anymore.
My answer to Marshall: I’m not in the news business anymore, but if I were I’d keep Twitter up on screen. I’ve been looking closely at Google Reader’s latest features, Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed and I gotta say that most of what shows up on TechMeme shows up in my Twitter feed up to a day earlier.
Over the past two weeks I’ve been doing a little experiment: can I outrace TechMeme and TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb and all the others? The answer is a resounding YES. But it requires following a very select group of people on Twitter. Believe it or not, the same group puts most of their items into FriendFeed and Facebook, too. It’s very rare that I see news in Facebook or FriendFeed that I don’t see in Twitter first. It’s even rarer that I see news in Google Reader. Why?
RSS isn’t real time. Deal with it. Yes, it’s moving more and more real time, but I guarantee you that this post will be in FriendFeed and Twitter before it hits Google Reader. Why? I put it there manually the second I hit post. I’ve noticed that most of the top content producers (you call them writers or bloggers) do the same thing.
Anyway, want to see how this works? I’m watching 2,391 people and brands on Twitter. That’s FAR MORE than I could read on Google Reader, by the way. Headlines in Google Reader just aren’t satisfying and reading full text slows you down so you must be far choosier on who you listen to.
That means I see new Tweets every few seconds. Easy to keep up with, if you are dedicated.
What do I do with them? I click “favorite” on my favorite Tweets. In just about two weeks I have built up a database of about 1,700 favorites. It’s good stuff, but it’s mostly useless unless you only want to see the last 300.
What’s missing from my favorites? Noise. I’ve filtered it out. But to do that I’ve probably had to read about 100,000 Tweets. Maybe more. And THAT is the disadvantage of Twitter and why Louis Gray does have a point when he says he still loves Google Reader.
The thing is none of the four of us are normal. We are ALL news junkies. I love knowing what’s going on in people’s lives and what they are passionate about in the tech industry and I want to hear it directly from them. I can’t get that by just reading a newspaper. I can’t get that from TechMeme, just look at my favorite tweets. How many of them go to TechMeme or Digg? Not many.
I’ve also started playing with a couple of new feed reading tools. One is Feedly. It only works on Firefox, unfortunately, but it sits on top of Google Reader and is very nice. Still, I like Twitter better for some reason. Yesterday LazyFeed came out, I’m working on a video with the founder that will be up in the morning, but it does the RSS hard work for me (it goes and finds feeds on topics I’m interested in so I don’t need to know anything about RSS). The thing is it isn’t nearly as interesting as Twitter. Why? I have no idea who wrote all the stuff that’s coming in there. For normal people Facebook is far better than all of these ways of learning the news.
I personally am bored with the whole topic. I don’t need more feeds. I don’t need better readers.
What do I need?
Better filters. That’s why I got so excited by FriendFeed. It’s why I’m playing around with human curation and all that (which proves again that Facebook is going to win this game).
Anyway, to me RSS is no longer interesting to talk about. The battlefield has moved on. RSS will be used by lots of people for a long time, but, honestly, when I give talks to people I show them FriendFeed, Facebook, and Twitter and all the tools that play in those. I don’t usually open up Google Reader anymore. Why? It’s moved into the boring camp for early adopter audiences and it’s still too weird for late adopter audiences who are hearing more about Twitter and Facebook.
What about you? Is RSS interesting or boring to you? Why?