Signal vs. Noise, a publication about the web
Is RSS dead to you too? I haven’t used an RSS reader for a year and I haven’t looked back.
Well considering I arrived here via a link in your RSS feed, I guess the answer is no! But I know exactly what you mean – there must be a better way!
No, it isn’t.
I love RSS and use it constantly—I have nearly 60 feeds in my reader of choice, Vienna. Far more efficient than visiting 60 websites a day just to see if there is a new item of interest.
You’ve got 80K readers of this blog as evidence it’s not entirely dead. Are you going to wow us with some kind of alternative, then?
I have probably 20 different feeds that come through Apple Mail every day which is how I keep up on news and whatnot, and like the other commenters, how I found this article :).
It does bug me that Apple Mail’s RSS reader doesn’t support HTTP authentication.
Honestly, it never left the womb for me.
What do you use in place of an RSS reader? Or is your question not about RSS at all, but about your habits instead?
nope, i use safari’s built-in rss reader every day. and i make websites that display rss feeds too.
As a 219-feed/0-unread-items nut, I say no. Greetings from the fringe!
Totally alive! RSS has sort of replaced the refresh-button in my browser.
I just go to site that I like. I’ve found it more satisfying and it slows me down. I’m less news/information junky now which is a good thing.
Nope, I use it all day every day. I have over 100 feeds in NetNewsWire on my Mac and iPhone, synced together with Newsgator. I read this article in my news reader, like the others. I’m not going to visit 100+ web sites a day just to see if they happened to update something.
As a technology writer, I never close my RSS reader and have feeds coming in from dozens of sites every five minutes to review. So nope, not dead for me.
No way! Using RSS more than ever
No way! I use RSS feeds every day. HUNDREDS of them. Usually I scan the headlines and the first few sentences and move on. It keeps me informed.
The problem may be the way you use RSS feeds. I use Safari’s RSS reader and it makes long scannable, searchable web pages for each category. I prefer that to a bunch of individual tasks you have to manually mark read. That’s too much of a chore.
I wish I could get over my rss addiction, I spend to much time going over hundreds of feeds in NewsFire, I have to close it at times so I don’t get distracted.
read svn every day through netnewswire. so no. I don’t think so :)
As far as feed-reading, yeah, I read less than I used to. But, I’d be reading less regardless of using RSS or just visiting sites. Efficiency is all bad.
No need to manage desktop apps, available on any device, easy to ignore or flip through things, and the new sharing feature is cool.
I used to subscribe to this practice, but I couldn’t shake the “junkie” part, so I’m back to Google Reader and really liking it. In fact, GR is like my backpackit for news, it’s there so I don’t forget.
I use the RSS reader to control my search for information. Before the reader I would spend a lot of time going to sites, sometimes several times a day. Now I limit myself to about a dozen sites on the reader and maybe take a day a week to explore other stuff. If something really strikes me as somewhere I want to visit regularly, I might add it to the reader. Just seems a better use of my time.
I cannot live without google reader
Oh dang. I’ve quit many things recently, but RSS is one I’d have trouble kicking. No, no. Not dead.
I use Google reader extensively, for work and leisure. There are a lot of blogs that publish very infrequently, but when they do it’s top notch. I’d probably forget about them without RSS.
Is this for real? RSS and Google Reader rocks. Why go to every site, every day just to see if they have posted something interesting? Seems like a waste of time to me.
Really, I think this sums it up best:
“From your 220 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 6,711 items, starred 84 items, shared 313 items, and emailed 0 items.”
RSS is definitely not dead for me.
Funny you should ask.
Now I’m using the Firefox Delicious plugin, bookmarking everything I want to keep up with, and using those bulleted tags as I use the folders in Google Reader. I can simply open each tag in tabs and immerse myself in a particular topic. Plus it forced me to take a real look at my info diet and refactor quite a bit… usually a good thing.
Considering that’s how I read this post, the answer is “No”—I save a lot of time by aggregating a couple dozen RSS feeds on my iGoogle page and checking that a few times per day, so I can read more content more frequently. I used to go through a list of bookmarks to check for new content on a few blogs; now I can read more, faster, and not waste time loading a site to find there is nothing new.
I love RSS. I use Google Reader a lot. I use it to consolidate all my news into one location and if I’m really interested I’ll read the whole story at the site.
RSS is not dead. I use NetNewsWire all day every day. It’s how I keep up on multiple blogs spanning several topics, including Photography, web development, Business, Apple news and more.
All centralized, archived, searchable and tells me what I haven’t read yet. I can scan the headlines for what’s useful. It’s a time saver.
RSS is not dead. My first disagreement with the great 37signals, LLC.
I’m a Google Reader nut also: “From your 80 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 807 items”
I think RSS/Atom is only growing. I used to spend more than an hour each day clicking through my list of favorites and checking to see if there was anything new. With syndication, I can instantly see what’s new and focus on that.
Funny that many of us got to this post from a RSS reader. if they’d let me comment from GoogleReader, I would have.
RSS is not dead for me. its on my phone, my laptop, on kindle.
And RSS reader (at least GoogleReader in my case) is more than reading, it’s sharing and it’s safekeeping.
I have Google Reader on Igoogle set as the homepage. Its there with gmail and calendar. It makes my life easier. if i want to read I click on homepage and voila! :) Besides I forget how many signals there are, 37…43…62..i couldnt possible remember all the interesting places to check out and looking at my delicious account is cumbersome..
but i dont read that much anymore. cleaning obsolete feeds is a chore…
I have been using google reader more and more. RSS as a technology may fade, but personally customized aggregation of content is the future.
Want more proof? Here are some RSS stats from my site.
I have 129,000 RSS subscribers, but only about 1000-4000 that come directly to my site daily.
see it for yourself:
I love RSS, I think there’s nothing wrong with feeds. Especially for horribly designed sites that still have good information, my feed reader of choice makes information just that: information.
Yes and no. I still use it daily for some important feeds. Probably around 10 feeds a day I care about and check, like BuzzFeed, this blog, Deadspin, etc.
But I have definitely reverted to the classic bookmark bar and check the actual sites for places like
So yes and no.
I think what you’re seeing is a shift in RSS usage. The sites that have TOO MUCH content, like a NYTimes news feed, people don’t really use because it’s overload. So they work great as bookmarks because you explore the site and what you want to view.
The sites that have TOO LITTLE content work great as a book mark because you only have to check them once a week or so.
The sites that have just the right amount of posts, like say 1-5 a day or so, work perfect in my RSS still because I don’t have to worry about missing something, it’s not overload, and I don’t have to worry about hunting around on the actual site.
A good example of the RSS sweet spot now a days: Comic Wonder’s Audio Joke of the Day feed. 1 joke every day, normally around 1 minute long… don’t have to worry about missing a joke, not overload, and don’t have to worry about hunting all over a site for good content.
It really depends a lot on your personal workflow. Do you want to manage the hassle of searching through sites for new content, or the hassle of managing a list of feeds? Do you want to explore and maybe find new stuff, or do you want to get your digest and plow through it? It is a pretty personal thing from what I can tell. I do a mix of both.
That sounds like behavior that rososo can help facilitate. it lets you know when sites you like are updated so you can read them in context – RSS meets directly visiting the sites.
It seems awesome conceptually, but I find myself still tied to google reader….
I just go to site that I like.
I just go to site that I like.
I use Google Reader constantly (it’s on my homepage), and in fact RSS feeds have wholly replaced traditional news sources for me. I get local news, national and political news, industry info, and hobby interests with more breadth and depth than ever previously possible.
If anything, RSS has exponentially increased in importance for me.
Google reader, Signal vs Noise, show details:
Not only do I use RSS feeds but they’ve become my primary means of accessing information online. I use Google Reader more than any other (web) app and I can say that it, and RSS feeds, have changed the way I look at and use the web. Google Reader is my “view” — in a nerdy SQL kind of way — of the web and a sort of constantly updating online magazine tailored to my taste.
I think its a great tool and can’t believe I didn’t try it earlier. I used to have to visit over 10 websites/blogs everyday to check new posting. And then I have to keep going back to check for new posting throughout the day. But now, they all come to my Google reader and it gets updated every time there is a new post. I LOVE IT!
I still use my feedreader all day, every day.
RSS readers still provide the ability to quickly glance through several hundred article updates in a 5-10 minute period of time and drill down to a small few that spark some interest (such as this article). I feel like I have a better experience finding topics that I really want to read – versus wading through the clutter of most sites I follow.
That said – I always try to link through to the site for the actual article when reading the content. I like to ensure I am promoting traffic at the site and often find extra “nuggets” of information that cannot be found using RSS readers.
oh yea. here are my stats. I’m a real heavy user of RSS reader and I’m ok with being an information junkie.
From your 84 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 1,906 items, starred 36 items, shared 43 items, and emailed 5 items.
The only thing I’d be sad about people declaring RSS readers dead would be for the features and more investment in RSS from both content provider and service providers like GoogleReader team. But I don’t think we need to convert non believers or treat them with disrespect.
Very much alive and well. I use a reader only. I NEVER surf.
My web experience is through the lens of two apps: Gmail and Google Reader.
I think RSS has settled into niche use for me: All the sites and blogs that I frequent on a regular basis, I navigate directly to. For the plethora of blogs of my friends and my interests that are not high volume, I use RSS. It’s really awesome getting content-as soon as it’s created-from my own long tail of blogs. I think that’s what’s RSS is for.
Jason, perhaps you want to enlighten us as to why you think RSS is dead?
Another daily RSS users reporting in.
I agree that at times following tens (or hundreds) of feeds at once can seem like information overload. I’ve been interested in possibly looking at the Times RSS Reader. Could be a slightly less hectic way of viewing my feeds or at least make me less concerned about reaching “inbox zero” with my news feeds.
I have a few feeds (including this one) set up in my Apple Mail and essentially only use them as an alert that there’s a new post to read. I never actually read them in Apple Mail.
Jason, what sites do you like?
I don’t ever close my rss reader. I keep it open all day in my fluid app while I wait to see when something comes in so I can respond right away to make comments.
I need to touch and interact with my audience.
I know nothing about Jason except that he works at 37signals and I may have seen him in a video before. 37signals feels like a factory because I know nothing personal about the people behind it, except they the work the machine from the inside.
When I think about Gary V I see the opposite, his personality touches you, and its because I can find him on the internet and follow him.
RSS is very efficient and convent for me.
Totally alive. Use it to read your blog every day. Use Byline app for iPhone to read my Google Reader feeds. The main way I keep up with things is RSS.
RSS is dead, long live ATOM!
Well, the comments show that any reports of RSS’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. In some cases, quite the opposite, apparently. I used to be a big RSS junkie too, but it was killing my productivity, so I tried this trick that I pulled off LifeHacker, or some such site:
Limit yourself to 10 feeds that you like the best.
You will quickly find you don’t miss the rest. The nice thing about blogs is that if somebody posts something worthwhile, it will probably show up somehow in one of the feeds you keep anyway.
I’ve switched back and forth between RSS feeds and going to the actual sites. I monitor almost all of the sites I’m interested in via RSS now. It saves me alot of time to be able to skim through stories on all the sites I’m interested in rather than taking the time to visit them individually. It also makes it more likely that I’ll catch an interesting article on blogs that don’t post on a regular basis.
I read the content on the actual site though, I just use the RSS reader to notify me.
I struggle to stay on top of all the sites that I want to read. I find that I spend less time using NetNewsWire and just going to the sites I like directly.
Hell no! I use Google Reader constantly. Much better than bouncing everywhere for new content.
Not to mention that Google Reader is slightly less suspicious looking on your monitor than a giant image of WoW vixens and Flash animations.
Without RSS I wouldn’t be reading anything you write…
RSS is definitely not dead for me, especially since I started subscribing feeds on my gtalk
I also ensure that the feed count stays within a limit (20 for me)
I still have feeds collecting for stuff that I might get to at some point but RSS readers force you to read the fire hose coming from each site and that’s too much. Monitor topics on RSS feeds to read what you care about from sites you trust. Much better.
Google Reader FTW all day long.
Absolutly not, I can’t live without bloglovin´!
In their knowledge that we use RSS makes the writers on the internet churn out too much garbage.
A good post is something that one contemplates and probably acts upon, not tucked away in your starred folder. “A river of news” flows by while we slaves are chained to RSS readers.
RSS is too easy, a copout. I am suspicious.
what do u mean by dead? got here from ur rss…
I came here via RSS and I use RSS all the time because it helps you to keep an eye on a whole bunch of information sources without wasting too much time. Especially love it as a tool for system notifications (from web apps).
Still I am sure it’s a long way to go if you wanted to convince the so-called “long tail” to use RSS.
I even got feedback from an enduser that told me that he never clicks on “Subscribe via RSS” links because he thinks of subscriptions as something he’s got to pay for.
Will join the masses in cheering for my RSS reader. Using it more effectively than ever these days. Love it.
I hear you on the information junkie syndrome, though. I’m learning strategies to combat that; including not subscribing to noisy feeds, and judiciously using that “Mark All As Read” button.
I’m not sure how this is even a question. Maybe I’m missing something.
I’d have to agree with the other sentiments here. I use Google Reader since I can access it from multiple computers, and that’s how I saw this post.
What’s the alternative? Going to each web page and figuring out what has been updated is a very time-consuming option when you have a large number of sites to keep up with.
I’ve cut back on the number of non-essential feeds, but it’s as important to be now as it has ever been.
Several months ago I prefered to visit all my favorite websites. Agree with Jason that it’s more satisfy, but today I always use Google Reader and think RSS is really great tech.
I have just 10 RSS, but everyday just go through the list of RSS and decide what to read on website.
I think RSS is really helpful.
I use Google Reader all day long to keep up on my favorite blogs. I do know what you mean about actually visiting the site though. I remember going to one site after a few months of just reading the RSS feed to find that the site’s design had been completely revamped, so now I try to visit the sites I read with a greater frequency.
I probably check Google Reader every 20–30 minutes. I’m (still) interested in RSS as a relatively simplistic API, and I love finding new sites leveraging RSS as API to do some really cool shit (my favorite right now is Alltop).
I think RSS/Atom/whatever is long from dead, but for kicks I’m shutting down NetNewsWire and using Mail.app for a few essential feeds for the week.
I think there is definitely a middle ground between your stance and the syndication junkie. How about a simple, non-obtrusive (and non-interruptive, if that’s a word, if not I call dibs) app that just lists a few sites and weather or not they’ve been updated since you last visited them? No headlines, no content, just a little number badge. It could hook into your browsers history to see if you have visited the site fairly simply I’d think. Ideally it would hook into your bookmarks… imagine if Delicious or Magnolia offered this kind of metadata? Hell, it might be nice if you could get this kind of data out of any link on any webpage…
Anyway, just knowing if a site is updated without having to view it would be handy for sites that don’t update frequently.
RSS is still very important and relevant. I use the Sage extension in Firefox to access RSS feeds on a daily basis.
Also got here via RSS.
After reading the comments, perhaps the answer here is: no, RSS is not dead, but every reader besides Google’s is
I’ve played with them but never got into them. I like browsing at my whim, but I’m probably missing out on some good posts because my way isn’t really much of a system.
Google Reader. All day.
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for RSS… I use Netvibes… and I love it more every day…
Not at all. I came here via RSS feed and find it helpful that I don’t need to keep checking in on SvN to see if a new post has been created.
I really just started to use RSS daily within the last 2 months and loving it now. When I have time I still like to go to the sites and check for new news…
RSS lives on. And will continue to live on, I think. I’m sure some habits will change, but I don’t have time to check all the important sites each day. I came here from the RSS Feed.
RSS rocks. I can’t believe the masses haven’t caught on more (mother-in-law types). Too many steps to implement? Too intimidating?
The nice thing about Google Reader, and probably most readers, is that you can visit the actualy site if you’d like.
I try to keep my ‘subscription list’ very small (< 20). That way I don’t feel compelled to read blogs all day.
You’re kidding, right? NetNewsWire is how I start 90% of my web surfing. But I’m all for pruning, and go on binges and purges with feeds. I’m always working toward the perfect stream of content that doesn’t make me feel overloaded, or out of touch.
Are you kidding? RSS is the only way I can keep up with the river of blogs, news and whatnot we have today.
Many bloggers don’t update regularly, and it’s OK because I don’t check their sites every day for a new post—Google Reader does that for me.
I wouldn’t be reading many interesting, but sparse posting blogs if it wasn’t for RSS.
RSS has been around for a long time, but I didn’t bother using it until web-based feed readers came into play. My home page is my google reader account now.
I would never read this site if it wasn’t for RSS. Don’t get me wrong, I like this site, enjoy many of the posts. I just wouldn’t remember to come check it.
Google Reader killed my RSS reading application, but I still use RSS for many, many things.
I am an habitual consumer of information; it’s my trade and I soak it up. I wouldn’t be able to absorb as much information as I do without RSS. I think doing community management does this to you.
The key to using RSS properly is information filtering. Run through, do a pass, middle-click on REALLY awesome things, star things you want to look at but have to wait until later; that sort of thing.
I used RSS to get here today.
First I grab links from friends on Twitter.
Next is RSS feeds via Google Reader.
if it wasn’t for rss, i wouldn’t have checked your site or 120 others. i read about 20% of your posts. without rss i’d just read the 10 blogs i always want to read all 100% of.
if you’re talking about alternatives (and you know of something better than rss), i’d love to see a post on it – a text post, not a video/podcast, because videos/podcasts belong to the 80% of your feed that i skip :D
Add one more to the list of people who got here through an RSS reader. So, yeah, it’s alive.
Yet another +1 for RSS (or more likely, Atom). I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the volume of sites that I want to keep up with without a feed reader.
RSS is critical in managing my time. I periodically weed out feeds that don’t provide me with a good ROI (volume of posts vs personal gain). That you posed this question provides me with the insight I need to decide to keep my feed from Signal vs Noise or dump it. Thanks.
Seeing as how I’m both reading this post and replying to it in my RSS reader, its quite hard for me to say its dead! I find it a lot more efficient than checking sites manually to “see if they updated”
For us tech junkies, it hasn’t died and has never been stronger. I love RSS.
However, for the average Internet user, RSS hasn’t been born yet. I’m in a computer lab and I just asked 5 people around me if they knew what RSS was…they all said no.
I wonder if all this RSS reading we do (and yes, it’s how I got here too) is as useful as “we’re” all saying it is. Are we really more productive as a result? Does it really shape our wealth of knowledge? Does it really make us more efficient? Or, is it an escape from not knowing what to do next on a project? or a timeout from real work? The latter seems is my sense of my own usage recently. With Google Reader just an open tab away, it becomes a beckoning distraction to see that “(12)” next to the tab name…ooh, ooh, let me go see what’s going on. Did I miss something?
Thinking (and not working) out loud…
No… I think it’s the future.
I use Google Reader, but what kills me about RSS readers is the management aspect. I always feel like I need to check in just so I don’t get overwhelmed with unread items. I would love to see a reader app where there is just a flow of incoming articles… if you miss something, so what.
As many said, reading this via RSS. RSS says – there is nothing new in the world. Get some real work done, i’ll tell you when something comes by.
If you use Mac OS X, reading RSS feeds inside the Mail application is a pleasure. You benefit from all the advantages of email management features.
I use it as whenever I feel the need for an information update. The beauty of it is that you can dip into it when you like, unlike email where it just keep on coming.
could not live without it. no other way to keep up with the good information. I save at least 1 hour a day using google reader, and love that it is always update regardless of whether i read it on my phone, 3 computers, or ipod touch….
I got here through RSS, I use google RSS reader to get all my blog news.
Google Reader. Same status at work, at home and on my iPod touch. Make sure you use it ONLY for irregular feeds and feeds where you don’t want to miss an entry even when you don’t have time to look every day. Daily news appetite on demand via regular website!
I’m here via RSS.
I can understand designers not liking RSS.
I think of the Martin Fowler blog (bliki). He blogs very rarely but when he does I want to read it. Without RSS I would waste lots of times just checking to see if he has posted.
In the past, I never really got into RSS. I used to like visiting the actual sites… was kind of nice.
Now, though, I’m using RSS more and more. The main reason is the iPhone… it’s much easier to sync up when I’m near wifi, then I can read them on the bus/train… it’s not quite the same, so often I flag articles for checking out later when I’m back near a nice big monitor….
Got here from RSS (Google Reader). Don’t have very many feeds in it, but it saves me spending any time at all checking around those sites. Now that the updates come to me, it’s made me less of a junkie.
I arrived here via RSS. I love RSS and will never give it up.
It’s the TiVo of web browsing.
I’m assuming you posted this just to get the traffic. Blogs in general would probably never exist without RSS. This site for one I’d rarely if ever actually visit if it were any more difficult than clicking a link to the right of my screen.
Not to me; but comments are.
Information is a drug and we are immersed in the era of Information overload. That is not going to change. But ultimately, each one decides (up to some point) to how many information is being exposed and how to process it.
Each one needs to find its way to filter the signal out of the noise. That’s to find the value. Jason’s approach is as valid as any other. I use Google Reader (currently suscribed to 110 feeds) but have changed my habits about how and when to consume the different news sources.
Thanks to some GTD and ZTD inspiration now I only invest between 45 to 60min per day (in one session) to process all of my daily news “Inbox” and doing the corresponding actions on them (example of folders / tags view)
As with any tool dealing with considerable amounts of information (like the most common web apps: wiki, news reader, email…) if you not develop good usage habits / patterns they will losing its original value.
I use Safari, so it’s just another bookmark to me.
Add me to the “got here from my RSS reader” pile-on here – Google Reader, in my case. Can’t imagine trying to keep up with all the different sites that I follow without RSS. My biggest complaint about RSS is that there still are sites out there that don’t include full article feeds (especially webcomic feeds that don’t include the actual comic).
RSS is not dead, it is how I experience the web. A browser tab not spawned from NetNewsWire is an odd occurrence for me.
RSS is for News when you want to read it, Email is for messages
I used to have updates from sites Emailed to me, that junked up my email box. Then I would visit those sites for updates, but again, I’d forget them or my “sites to visit for updates” bookmarks would get out of control.
I think the most valuable thing is to keep RSS under control – only subscribe to what you really need to be kept up to date on.
What should RSS do differently? Perhaps give you the ability to say which RSS feeds you really want to see every day and which you want to ignore until the end of the week or month.
Now that I would certainly like ;)
“Are tampons dead? I haven’t used one in my life and never expect to.”
Generalizing one’s own experiences or preferences is such a tyro designer mistake that I’m a little flabbergasted to see it coming from here.
do not agree. i use google reader daily.
I use my RSS reader every day. I subscribe to sites that publish 30 articles per day, and I select one or two to read. Then I mark the others as read.
Here’s where RSS is my savior: I also subscribe to sites which might publish one article every 6 months. For example, my high school alumni page. Sites like these, I don’t have to travel to the web site on the off chance there’s new material. The new material comes to me.
For what it’s worth I’ll add to the RSS IS NOT DEAD cascade.
I use the RSS feed to be alerted to the new content, then go straight to the site to see it.
Seems of little value to browse a number of sites not knowing whether there is new content.
Yep, RSS and RSS Feeders not dead. I open Google Reader almost every day, though I rarely get to all the new stuff. Even the stuff I do read, I’ll scan things that I do not find especially crucial, insightful, or interesting.
Computer says no.
Love RSS, with NetNewsWire. I follow the others who came to this post via RSS.
How do you stay informed about what’s happening on the web industry without RSS ?
(it’s not sarcastic, just a true question)
What should RSS do differently? Perhaps give you the ability to say which RSS feeds you really want to see every day and which you want to ignore until the end of the week or month.
That is easily achievable (though not perfect) adding the corresponding “tags” to your feeds in Google Reader (read my post above), like: @DAILY:LOCAL, @DAILY:INTERNATIONAL, @DAILY:RAILS, @WEEKLY:DEVELOPMENT…
Google Reader lets you assign multiple tags to the same feed so you could tag one as “RUBY” AND ”@WEEKLY:DEVELOPMENT”
“I just go to site that I like.”
After you’ve visited your sites one-by-one, do you hop in your covered wagon, go to the town saloon, and trade a beaver pelt for a drink?
Now you’ve got me thinking. What makes you, Jason, different from all of us? Why are you so joyfully not using RSS?
Clearly, the majority of those commenting are in favor of RSS, possibly because we want to know what others have to say, and we have a great tool to do that efficiently.
How do you get your access to the world? Is there a better method? Or, are you saying that not using RSS is a way to unplug?
RSS is the only way I keep up with anything anymore. I have 172 subscriptions in google reader that let me keep up with a number of different fast-moving topics without wasting a ton of time checking on different sites or paying for magazines offering far less useful information.
On the other hand, I can see how it’d be easy to do without all the added “noise” and just stick to the essentials without regretting it. I’m one who prefers to consume and process as much information as possible. RSS is just one way that I maximize my time-efficiency at doing that.
Absolutely not. Although, Signal vs. Noise has gotten much less attention from me after you started with this microblogging experiment of yours. Why not just use Twitter for these kind of things?
At least give it a separate feed. The noise part of your brand name is starting to be more apparent.
I think its pretty clear your readership does not agree with your sentiment :)
Google reader user (180 feeds)
My first RSS reader was Pluck (back in 2004 I think). Really ahead of their time IMO.
I am unsubscribing more than subscribing lately
I am not sure what I would do without RSS these days—I would definitely struggle and by no means be as ‘well rounded’ as I currently am. To echo other’s remarks, I came here via RSS. Further, I know most of the websites today only as feeds within my RSS reader.
I can’t go through a day without checking Google Reader. It’s great and their iPhone site is very convenient.
You can’t be serious.
It’s alive for me as long as Google Reader is here, and the whole iGoogle thing with it… I can’t be bothered to go and visit all the blogs separately, I just click on the links in the Google Reader iGoogle widget, and read everything inside the popups… I click on the links only for commenting.
Don’t get it. On this page there’s a badge that says 81520 rss subscribers and you’re asking this?
Where’s the catch?
I use Google Reader. I can’t imagine having to visit all the sites to just pick out the few gems I’m interested in. I love RSS.
Jason: Dead? No way. I live in Google Reader all day (“171 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 25,657 items”). I saw your latest update here on SvN via RSS. And I blog about RSS Overload on our blog at the Bscopes Blog.
Not only not dead, but not even yet known by most non-hardcore techies. I do worry that folks who have been using RSS the longest are really suffering from the overload the most. I’d hate for them to be frustrated like they are with email and to slow down or give up on using RSS to get to blogs and other websites that change often.
RSS feeder is how I keep up with blogs.
50 feeds in my Vienna.
The best way to keep track of news and blogs, in my opinion.
no. Google Reader is where I read everything. I subscribe to a 100 or so blogs.
RSS is live with me. 236 feeds total. Serious about 122 of them.
RSS is great! I can’t imagine browsing the internet without it.
Since baking up a Twitter strategy (follow a few key influencers) I’ve found they are filtering for me better than RSS with PostRank ever could
@dante, that’s hilarious! Reminds me of Ray out of Achewood:
“No, I ain’t got a fax machine! I also ain’t got an Apple IIc, polio, or a falcon!”
I can’t tell you how many times I or someone in my office has had a question, and then, as if by magic, the answer appears in my RSS reader, as someone else is inevitably asking the same thing.
The bookmark is what is dead to me. We don’t need bookmarks anymore. Weed your feeds and let answers search for you.
RSS is dead! Long live Atom 2.0! Okay okay, I know that’s not the point you were trying to make Jason…
Dead? Well, firstly let’s count how many people are reading THIS from an RSS reader. It’s one of those time-drains that you can’t live without, yet keep feeling you are spending too much time on.
So what is the best way to keep up on your RSS?
From Google Reader: From your 106 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 2,311 items, starred 3 items, shared 9 items, and emailed 0 items.
I’m a mostly self trained programmer and it’s the only way I could possibly keep up on all of the sites that have good information. If I read the same amount by going to websites that would be all I would do.
And I second the dissenter on the micro blogging. Way too much noise. That kind of off topic blog reading I like to save for my personal time, but I can’t separate it out. You’ve tied it to my professional blog reading.
Bad UI :)
This is not the first post I’ve seen on svn (via my rss reader) that seemed to be testing the anti-rss waters. No matter how many times you ask, the answer is the same. RSS is a valuable tool that just happens to be how most of your readers consume your content. I’d be really interested to find out what the real story behind these posts is.
The Preventers of IT here both monitor bandwidth and block any domain you visit regularly that they don’t. So Google Reader is the only way for me to stay on top of many industry publications and weblogs behind the firewall.
If it wasn’t for RSS I wouldn’t be following this blog. There is a lot of valuable material on the net and if you’ve got as broad interests as I have it’s impossible to follow things you’re interested in efficiently without it.
Check the web server referral logs on this link? ;-)
There’s more to it than blog posts. Imagine experiencing architecture only from watching its content; the furniture, the signs, the toilet bowls. RSS spoils the fun of watching design change. When it comes to the context of an argument, how it looks matters.
Jason, maybe you have reached a plateau and the content of your feeds keep repeating or don’t provide anything new. I can see that consuming a feed is different than consuming a site, but if you’re only after the content (not context or design) it’s still the most efficient way today.
Nope. I use it through iGoogle all the time. I think it has been widely noted that the universal RSS term and little orange button is a complete failure in increasing it usage. I believe the usage will remain relatively small until the experience is improved and the tech jargon removed.
I too buhleted my RSS reader (NetNewsWire at the time) about 8-9 months ago. Felt like a huge thing at the time, and in hindsight it kinda was.
Feeling a lot more focused these days. Less worried about what others are doing/saying, with more time to spend on my own work.
Google Reader, is my second search engine. I was obviously interested in the page in the first place to want to read the feed. that means instead of the many billions of pages or “Results 1 – 10 of about 473,000 for signal vs noise” i can search gReader and just get thousands of results.
RSS aint dead. I only read shared, work and primary. Mark as read Secondary and Tertiary.. that cuts out 3/4 of the feeds..
Definitely not for me.
Is e-mail dead to you too? I haven’t subscribed to a newsletter for a year and I haven’t looked back.
I don’t use an RSS reader like Google Reader or NetNewsWire, but I do use a news reader that allows me to read my favorite websites (including this one) all in one place: Planetaki.
I’ll do you one better: I don’t own a cell phone.
Whats this, you’ve got to have known the reaction to a post like this?!? Yes RSS can be a timewaster.
I took Nick Cernis’ advice and ditched my RSS reader for e-mail subscriptions. Ditch the Digital Itch
It is far easier to deal with and like you, I don’t miss the feed reader with its big UNREAD numbers staring at me.
Since I used an RSS reader to click through to this page, I would suggest RSS is very far from dead. RSS is how I read almost everything I read on the internet. Actually having to browse to the websites is too slow. It’s about productivity and absorbing information.
I didn’t know RSS was dying. I definitely need to tidy my feeds up, going through them now and is taking way too long. Unfortunately there’s too many interesting websites these days.
I here you Jason.
I even never read anything in an RSS reader.
I only use Netvibes to tell me when new posts are here so I don’t have to constantly check the sites (It became a nasty waste of time, checking two dozens of web sites, 10 times a day, just to find out 3 or 4 new posts).
But I read every posts on the web sites.
What’s the point of designing blog themes if it’s to read them from Google Reader ? And the comments ?
I live on my RSS feeds! like the others I pretty much do not surf the web anymore and keep up to date with my feeds.
I almost wont even revisit a site if it doesnt offer RSS feeds, just dont have the time or desire to surf these days.
I think you have your answer, Jason. I count myself amongst the many here who keep up on SVN via an RSS reader.
Nevertheless, I question RSS’ ability to syndicate good content in a profitable way. Many of my friends in journalism are facing dim prospects. There will always be a demand for good content, but until someone figures out a replacement for classified ad revenue, it’s going to remain something of a frontier.
I arrived through planetaki. It’s way better than anything else I’ve tried. No information anxiety, formatted posts, nice look and feel and good old KISS philosophy.
RSS is dead as RSS, but not as “add this website to your planet”.
I arrived here via RSS as well. My rule of thumb is, if the site doesn’t have RSS, I generally don’t go back. There are a few exceptions I make for sites with amazingly high quality content (www.strike-the-root.com), but even those sites assure me that they will have RSS feeds soon.
Google Reader is the only reason that I manage to actually follow the many blogs I follow.. I don’t have the time to visit all 122 blogs daily to check for updates – and those are just the ones I like so much that I actually want to follow them
I must use RSS to keep up with my varied interests; it’s far faster and more efficient than going to individual Web sites. I can do a lot of quick skimming of headlines and discard things that don’t interest me. NetNewsWire saves me A LOT of time. As a Rails developer this additional time also adds to my “great surplus.”
RSS isn’t dead, but yours seems broke. In my RSS reader, all I see is “QUESTION: Is RSS dead to you too? I haven’t used an”.
I read your blog via RSS on NewsFire!
I’m finding the opposite for myself. I usually add a feed or two a day just to keep up with things. However, I “read’ by skimming the headlines and if I find something I like I’ll head over to the site to read it so that I can post a comment if that is available to me.
RSS lets me cover a lot more ground every day than surfing possibly could. I wouldn’t visit this blog regularly without it.
Since you’re more in the business of creating content rather than consuming it, I imagine you’re kind of sick of eating other people’s dogfood. The universe one day will end, and so too one day people will stop using RSS. That day is not today.
The 101 feeds I read (or skim!) every day in NetNewsWire say no. :-) RSS is still a boon for scanning headlines in the pursuit of something “relevant to my interests”, as they say.
RSS isn’t going anywhere.
So are you guys ever going to release BlogCabin?
Google Reader is the best feed reader at the moment, imo. My video card has broken yesterday, I’m working in 800×600, even Windows games (like Solitaire and Miner) don’t work in Windows’ error mode, but I can still read feeds almost as comfortably as before.
Also, Peggle works, which for me speaks very well of the quality of its engineering.
My previous comment starts with:
You guys should really fix your commenting system here.
like the thousands before: i still use RSS and can’t see any replacement for it’s purpose yet. did you have a replacement in mind?
I do use Google Reader and love it. I used to visit the sites that I liked more often than they updated the content and I got tired of actively seeking new information.
So now I have a rule: get the RSS feeds from those sites that post articles occasionally so I don’t have to constantly check, but visit those sites that I know for sure post new stuff frequently (such as this blog).
Me too, I use Google Reader, and I wouldn’t know how to handle all this information without it… reading over a hundred feeds.
Interesting thing, I recently asked a class of about 100 psychology grad students, if they knew whatt RSS was: Not a single one did… So in the common public RSS is yet to be discovered. It is still difficult to explain, how to use it, as there are many viewing possibilities and you have to install a programm or register for a service, which is too much for many…
I’ve started using rss with netvibes then myYahoo, it helps me keep up with information and I can retrieve them when I change computer (it happens often during the day).
+ I found it very convenient for search results (like dailymotion, I don’t have to retype my search nor having a page with ads)
Google reader FTW!
RSS is not dead to me but it definitely needs a fresh take. I’ve never been more informed and less knowledgeable.
SvN could drop their RSS feed to walk the walk.
Came here via RSS, so it’s not.
It’s not dead, but I find it’s eating up more and more of my time.
Time for a bit of a cull I think.
I recently found myself realising how much time I spend clicking Next and Mark As Unread, so I downloaded Times (http://www.acrylicapps.com/times/) and have found some sanity in my life again. So what if I miss the occasional news item, I get the headlines, and it works.
Does Google reader count!!!??
no, its not dead, but it definitely needs to get simpler, and this is something bloggers need to consider too…
Right now Im using planetaki (http://planetaki.com/pond), and I really like it because it serves my main purposes: reading in my pc and also in my iPhone, and sharing my reading with friends and viceversa.
I don’t read content in an RSS reader and never have, however I find my RSS reader (Google Reader) critical for keeping up with the hundred or so sites I like to keep track of.
As I do the majority of my website reading at lunch or for a bit of the evening, I simply wouldn’t go through those sites manually — especially when some are only updates every week or few, and half my time would be wasted checking sites that’ve got nothing new to offer.
Having RSS let me know they’ve been updated cues me to open up the new articles, and I then read them in the site itself. If the site has no RSS feed, I don’t check the site. Fortunately I can’t recall visiting any site I’ve wanted to keep up with for at least a year without an RSS feed.
I’d imagine a lot of people do it like this. Using an RSS reader doesn’t necessarily mean actually reading it in an RSS reader.
NetNewsWire every day. Newsgator from the road.
I hardly think you can call RSS dead.
I’d recommend you either smoke less crack, or more crack.
I love my rss feeds
And I love NetNewsWire too.
I read this post from my RSS feed.
When I get to work I 1) check my email/voicemail, 2) read my RSS feeds, 3) look at my to-do list.
I have never been able to get on board with an aggregator/reader. I haven’t been able to pin down why, but what I do now is dump my half dozen or so feeds into rssfwd and they go directly into my gmail account. I have gmail open all day anyway, so I get updates in approximate real time (as fast as the service can keep them updated at least, I think it may check every hour or so.) Another nicety is that I can setup filters to label them, etc.
Almost all of my regular website reads are previewed from an RSS reader (Google Reader—but I’ve used NetNewsWire, Radio, and others in the past). Including this one.
Alive. Via Netvibes or NetNewsWire.
What I think he’s trying to ask is whether skimming through hundreds of articles a day is really the best use of your time.
What we need is a tool that aggregates and displays just the duplicate posts. because, most of the time, the more people that write about a topic the more important it is.
I get the interesting links via twitter now.
I use RSS religiously. There are many sites that I read daily that I have only visited once, decided it looked interesting and then subscribed to their feed.
I generally prefer sites that post sparingly when they have something interesting to say rather than post often to encourage traffic. These sites especially lend themselves to RSS because then I’m never checking sites that haven’t been updated.
I stopped following sources with too many items per day. Biggest articles go to my iPhone via Instapaper and the rest is skimmed or read on daily basis.
Sorry folks, I wouldn’t read SvN if it didn’t have an RSS feed.
Right on, Jason.
I hate using RSS readers, especially to view full posts (i.e. rather than post descriptions — and why would I want to do that?), because, sadly, they achieve what they’re meant to do — they give you the content, without the presentation.
There are so many different and awesome website designs — Jason Santa Maria, et al — yet we’re supposed to read black text on a white background? No thanks.
I like the idea behind RSS, and perhaps, just perhaps, there is some back-end use for them, i.e. rather than pissing around with APIs just to pull data for an alerts app or something, but for the consumer, in its current incarnation, RSS sucks (although that Mac desktop RSS app I saw on SvN a while back seemed to be on the right track).
To put it simply: Google Reader’s ugly; the others just suck.
I see where JF is coming from.
I have 40 to 50 feeds in my RSS reader, however, the thought of going there intimidates me due to the info glut.
Over the course of time, I have figured out 4 or 5 valuable sites that I truly love reading and now I just visit them directly and I couldn’t be any happier. I don’t miss my reader.
Of course, I open my reader once in a while.
Life just became simple.
Like some other people, I got to this post thanks to RSS. So clearly, no, RSS isn’t dead for me. It’s easier for me to say, “hey, I’ve got a few minutes to spare, what’s new?” and click on my “GRreader Next” bookmarklet, than to visit home pages individually and try to figure out what I have and haven’t read.
I do try to evaluate the feeds I’m subscribed to every once in a while. Which I haven’t done recently … (goes to GReader to count his subscriptions)
Damn, I have 39 feeds, and that’s about a dozen too many. I guess I’ll have to have another round of feed culling …
i use it every day on my iPhone. while everyone else is wrestling with their giant papers on the EL, i skim the NYT front page for what’s interesting to me.
I use RSS all the time, in Safari (which I’ve found to be the most friendly). I have it set up to update the feeds once per day(so I don’t spend all my time being obsessive-compulsive making sure I look at each one individually). And like a lot of the other respondents on here, I got to this page through RSS. :-)
I use RSS feeds all day every day.
So …. I guess that’s a no.
Of course we use RSS.
I find RSS is excellent for keeping tabs on blogs that rarely post. It’s easy to forget about a blog you really like if it doesn’t update regularly, RSS keeps it out of site, out of mind until there’s content there; not much different from announcement emails, really.
I use phome.com instead. It’s nice because it gives me a set of bookmarks for easy access, but also happens to update me, very gently, to say when I’ve got something new to check out.
Jason, I use RSS in the same way you say you use Campfire:
it’s always there but I don’t live inside it.
Whenever I feel like to check what’s going on around me or what I missed, I give it a glance.
The days of reading everything are ended so I skip and mark as read everything I don’t have interest in.
I love RSS! I have about 300 subscriptions on stuff I love and am always gathering more. I scan 100s or 1000s of feeds a day! How can you slander it when probably most of these people only read your RSS – like me?
Definitely not. I use Google Reader every day, and it’s how I found this link.
The fact that the underlying medium is RSS or Atom is irrelevant to me. The fact that information is being aggregated is essential, however.
I look at design a lot.
(paste this URL in Safari to see what I see…)
Without RSS, I would not read you guys.
It’s just that there is a whole lot of interesting content out there but I can’t be bothered to check up on all of it. I use Google Reader.
I had an “aluminium” feed reader, never could pronounce the fucking name of the thing…
Okay, here’s an analogy: feeds are like Lego; nice to build, pointless to use. Maybe I should use it more to see if I like it, but that’s difficult considering the low quality of many RSS readers.
Google Reader may be the best available, but that’s a disappointment if true: Google Reader screws up reference entities, shows duplicates of posts, and is an all-round annoyance to use.
There was some Rails-built flickr-named-after feed reader (which I’ve forgotten the name of), which looked promising from the outset but in use really screwed up on layout issues, OPML import, etc.
Feeds could work, but I just don’t see an app that’s good enough to persuade me into regular use, neither do I appreciate the removal of presentation that RSS/Atom inherits from its parent, XML.
Are feeds dead just for updates from web applications, but, potentially, still have meaning in web sites?
Consider this: apps are moving off the desktop and onto the Web, yet most web-based feed readers don’t support even HTTP Basic authentication, and if they’re social feed readers, there’s a high chance that a querystring token variable will be inadvertently publicized.
I wrote a response/rant about this on my site.
I use RSS for everything. Its awesome.
Is it just me or was this post intended to pre-empt a new 37s product — a decent feed reader — as you guys did before releasing Basecamp 2.0 a la “Basecamp the Intranet”?
If so, great, I’d love to see a decent reader.
If not, I need to stop reading too much into things.
Feeds rocks. I use it for news, blogs, facebook, my school work and anything that can free up my mailbox.
For me at least, desktop rss is dead as Elvis. But NetNewsWire may be the most used application on my iPhone. In fact, I’m posting this comment from within its comfy UI. Having a feed reader on my phone has almost made my daily commute on the crowded Chicago El bearable.
Love my RSS, pull in about 300+ articles a day through 57 feeds.
The only one that’s been dropped from my RSS is Digg, because I can’t keep up when it’s on there, so I just visit the site when I feel like Digging.
I use NetNewsWire.
I’m still using it but it seems to be adding to information overload rather than decreasing it…
Jason co-founded Basecamp back in 1999. He also co-authored REWORK, the New York Times bestselling book on running a "right-sized" business. Co-founded, co-authored... Can he do anything on his own?
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