RIP RSS, the strange case of Google Reader

So Google is dropping its RSS reader in the company’s latest bout of spring cleaning. The official reason? Declining usage. To me that misses the point:

[An] RSS reader was never meant to be mainstream in the way that, say, email is.

It is, instead, a niche product with enormous impact. It is niche, in part, because it requires (a little) technical nous – and explaining its application to a non-user is not the easiest thing to do. Unless, your non-user needs quick access to multiple sources in near real-time. Like a journalist, for instance.

RSS readers are used by what might be termed grandly as opinion formers or, at least, those who reach an audience. Like a journalist, for instance.

You can continue reading Google kills off its most useful tool for journalists. Why? over at the Press Gazette.

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Why RSS Versus Twitter Beats Federer Versus Roddick In Straight Sets

16-14 in the fifth set? Pah. For a real slug-fest you need to rewind seven days on the blogosphere, not 24 hours on Centre Court.

A week ago Malcolm Coles published this provocatively titled post, Newspapers: turn off your RSS feeds. Citing the latest figures on UK national papers, he pointed out that only three RSS feeds have more than 10,000 subscribers and “most newspaper … feeds have readerships in the 00s, if that.”

To wit:

I suggest newspapers switch to Twitter instead.

The advantages of Twitter, according to Coles, include the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff (“you can see which stories other people are RTing and are therefore popular”), context (“140 characters for newspapers to give some background to stories”) and conversation (“people only talk to their RSS feed when they swear at it.”)

It was a well-written piece but didn’t find universal favour. The comment thread ran long. Continue reading Why RSS Versus Twitter Beats Federer Versus Roddick In Straight Sets