I’ve just opened up NetNewsWire, my RSS feed reader — for the first time in probably a week. There are around 4,500 unread items, and I’m not likely to read them.
It’s probably been a week since the last time I opened it, and a week before that.
It used to be that I’d open it up a couple of times a day, to read some or all of what was new.
Of course, I didn’t actually read everything. There were vast swathes of items that held no interest for me, or where I’d skim the headline, and far fewer where I’d read the article.
It’s Twitter’s fault
I just don’t visit my newsfeeds very often any more, and it’s partly because of Twitter.
My friends and colleagues and interests send tweets. They not only report on what they’re doing, what they find interesting, or funny, or annoying, but on articles they read, videos they watch, their own blog posts. They post photos to Twitter too.
Now I find myself following links from tweets, viewing photos attached to tweets.
Things are current, alive, on the minds of my Twitter pals. Discussions ebb and flow around the topics of tweets, and articles or videos people link to.
It’s the App Store’s fault
If I’m not working or playing on my laptop then I’m likely to be using my iPhone or iPod touch. Twitter again.
Or if not Twitter, then apps, such as the TidBITS app or TUAW or TVNZ News. I wrote about this in some detail in Standing, sitting, lying: there’s an iP(o|a)d for that.
I just never seem to get around to looking at feeds on my iPod or iPhone.
Raw RSS never caught on
I’m pretty sure that RSS feeds never caught on with the general public.
In spite of the best efforts of many, most people just never ‘got’ it. Most were still visiting web pages.
Of course, the feeds are working behind the scenes, as they were meant to do in the first place. They fill blog sidebars, or fill Facebook pages. That’s where the general public uses’ feeds.
We’ve moved on again
I suspect the time of RSS feeds as streams of information that people read is past, never having really broken the surface. They’ll serve as undercurrents that feed into apps or services instead.
I’ll still check my feeds occasionally, but mainly because old habits are hard to give up.
How about you? Did you ever get into reading RSS feeds? Do you still check in on them? What are your thoughts on RSS?