5 Reasons Why Feed Readers Still Rock

From Read/Write Web.

I just still feel like I’m missing something. I can’t get past the fact that Twitter is not a feed reader, yet people insist on using it as one. I mean, if I were following all the people whose feeds I read on Twitter instead of using Google Reader, I don’t feel like I would see even half the posts that I do now. Granted, I skip over half of them anyway, but at least I know that I’m consciously skipping things I don’t want to see instead of just losing them to a Devil’s Kettle whirlpool of information.


Here’s the Top 5 Reasons I Still Use An RSS Reader:

1. Memory – There’s no way I could remember to check 300+ web sites per day

2. Separation of Subject Matter – Even if I could follow all the sites I do in Twitter instead of an RSS Reader, Twitter just mashes everything together. I have all my feed folderized and then ordered by priority. I have my friends’ RSS feeds (for their blogs, Tumblrs, Friendfeed, Flickr Contacts Feed) up at the top. I also have categories for comics, tech/web stuff, blogs by authors and other blogs about writing, fantasy basketball, the Bulls, personal finance blogs, Getting Things Done type blogs, and probably a couple more than I can’t think of off the top of my head. If these were all in one feed it would be nearly impossible to read. If there were all in one Twitter stream, I would almost certainly miss posts. If the ones I missed were the posts from my friends (which I deem Priority 1) that would suck. Flat out. I can totally save the GTD info for some time when I actually want to read it, and I often skip the PF advice anyway, so if those things were pushing my friends out of the visible spectrum and I were using a “out of sight, out of mind” reader like Twitter, then I’m letting the blogs decide who gets my attention instead of the other way around.

3. Control of Information Flow – This is related to the previous one, and is one of the reasons listed on RWW. I prefer to decide what I read instead of having Twitter (or Facebook) do it for me. At best, I’ll get to see something interesting, at worst, I’ll check whatever alternative to the RSS Reader is at a time when a bunch of blogs I don’t care about have just posted. For example, a friend of mine posted something very funny on Facebook at 1:43am the other night. If I used only Facebook as my feed reader, a bunch of tech bloggers would have pushed out posts about the new Apple tablet on top of that, and I might have missed that gem of a moment.

4. Consolidation – In reality, while there is a ton of information available on Twitter or Facebook, most of my friends don’t use Twitter. So, in order to keep my friends as Priority 1, I’d have to use at least 2 different media (Twitter and Facebook) to track everything. In a feed reader, I can pull in Twitter feeds and my Facebook Status Update feed (which I’m not sure you can even find any more), and then I have all that info in one place. Yes, I still have to check Facebook from time to time to see photos and links that people posted, but I also get to avoid all the app and Fan Page spam that comes through to my News Feed.

5. RSS Feeds Are Unlimited – Related to the above point again, but slightly different: Almost every site has an RSS feed. Not every site has a Twitter account. Sure, most people with personal blogs also have a Twitter account, but if they’re like me, they use Twitter for stuff that they don’t post on their blog (even if they use it to announce new blog posts as well). That’s all well and good for my friends, but for other bloggers, it can dilute the feed with information that I don’t really care about (I don’t expect you to care about my Twitter stream even if you like my blog – and vice versa). If following someone on Twitter was the only option I had to get their blog posts, I would have to more careful about who I follow. But with RSS, I have a choice. I can follow their Twitter feed, or I can follow the feed for their blog. And if they aren’t on Twitter, I can still follow their blog. If they have a WordPress blog (not sure if this works on others) I can even follow individual categories or tags if I want. Yes, Twitter is simple, but RSS is almost as simple, but it’s added complexity increases the overall value so as to outweigh the cost by orders of magnitude.


Posted on January 5, 2010, in Diatribes, RSS, Twitter and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on 5 Reasons Why Feed Readers Still Rock.

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