RSS Reader Death?

Fred at a VC posts evidence in an excellently exampled article that RSS still is alive and kicking amid the double Tsunami of connections that are Twitter and Facebook. But I have to lightly wonder where the general protest comes from. More and more (instead of less and less) I feel that industry is misunderstanding Facebook and Twitter, or mis-picturing it, as if they are replacing something instead of repositioning it. The very size and rapidity of their growth inspire interpretations of radical takeover as if there is a fundamental social break. Twitter and Facebook in this sense appear overestimated. Radio ads still exist in breadth even though we have television. Connections are about ways of life. As some commenters pointed out, the RSS is for substantive digestion, while Twitter (and/or Facebook) for something much else, snap-shot, skimming. If anything RSS finds itself enhanced by, amplified by Twitter and Facebook. It finds new planes, ones which its links-to disseminate. Sure, now blog titles now have greater lexical lifting power demand (no longer are they merely competing in a Reader Context, but in a Twitter feed, a Facebook link, an organic Caffeine jolt even), but RSS offers a secondary investment tier. Sure I’ll Twitter follow your feed, but if you draw me in I’ll RSS it. The interesting thing is that Twitter and Facebook actually have created the perspective that RSS reader feeds are MORE substantive than they once were. At one time not long ago blog posts were read socially and informationally as relatively thin and vapid – in terms of media stigma. In contrast now they actually stand as much richer anchor points beneath short, pictureless character limits or inert Like buttons.

Will there be a time that RSS is gone from intentional use? Certainly. But it seems more likely that the architecture and intent that is RSS will have been absorbed and incorporated – exapted – rather than discarded.

With techne, it is always about ethos, modes of life. And degrees of power.