If RSS is Dead, Someone Please Explain This Chart to Me!




It seems like the latest “xxxx is dead” bandwagon is RSS–and some A-listers are jumping on it with gusto!

We’ll overlook the fact that many of these people also thought FriendFeed was going to be the holy grail of social networking aggregation, and instead take a look at this chart:

That’s Google Reader’s growth over the past five years.

Does that look to you like the death of RSS? Nope, me neither. In fact, I thought it quite ironic that the people claiming the death of RSS pushed that news out to their RSS feeds, which then ended up in my Google Reader dashboard.

I personally still rely heavily on RSS feeds. Sure, I can get news from Twitter or Facebook, but that’s like turning on the TV and hoping that there will be a segment on “climate change” at some point during the day. With RSS, I can segment, tag, and categorize the flow of news, like this:

How would I do that without RSS?

Perhaps the issue is not the death of RSS. Maybe these same A-listers simply over-hyped RSS to start with and are now having to come back down to the reality. ;-)

  • http://www.socialseo.com Brian Gilley

    Hey Andy,
    I’m with you on this. I read a few blog posts last week about RSS being pointless, outdated, blah, blah, etc.

    It was you who got me hooked on setting up RSS feeds the right way to segment all the news and data for specific topics several years ago. I set it up right back then and it’s still the best and most useful tool I use to keep track of competitors, trends, and so on.

    The RSS haters can do or say what they want but my RSS feeds are staying. :)

  • http://www.kevinbondelli.com Kevin Bondelli

    I commented on Scoble’s post about this. What is interesting is that I started using Reader as an indispensable tool after watching a video of him using keyboard shortcuts to fly through posts a few years ago. There is no way for me to curate the number of posts and articles from nearly a thousand sources using Twitter.

    • http://facebook.com/ben.joven Ben Joven

      good find…been using Google Reader for years and never knew about the shortcuts…

  • http://arcanasphere.com/blog/ AndrewJ

    I keep this site in my Firefox Live Bookmarks on one computer and Google Reader in another.

    I don’t subscribe to news using social media. News goes to the news readers and social life to the social sites. It’s a great balance.

  • http://facebook.com/ben.joven Ben Joven

    Yeah, I heard the “RSS is dead” rant on several tech podcasts, and I’m not sure about the general public, but I still feel that RSS aggregation like Google Reader is, hands down, the best way to consume news.

    I go to places like Twitter when I want to find what people are talking about in specific locations, but trying to parse the twitter stream for news is ultimately unmanageable, there’s too much self-promotion and ulterior motives of driving followers to their own branded sites.

    • http://www.madisonwisconsinliving.com Hershel Miller

      That’s pretty good… RSS is dead on tech podcasts. That’s like me saying commenting on blogs is dead.

    • Donna

      I panicked when Bloglines brought me the “RSS is DEAD” news. I love RSS and can’t imagine how Facebook, Twitter, etc. can ever replace it. People who say Facebook makes RSS readers useless are totally missing the point of the technology.

  • http://www.drivenetconsulting.com Drive Net Consulting

    Great article. Short and sweet. RSS is gaining popularity which your article clearly shows now that the masses are starting to understand what it it really is.

  • http://www.murlu.com Murlu

    Absolutely fantastic!

    I think people are just getting uppity about RSS because they’re either hitting their own personal peaks, not writing the same level of content to pull in those RSS readers or simply that people have too much on their plates to read every new post from the blog each day.

    I recently had 245 blogs in my RSS – I cut it down to an ‘essential’ 60. Why? I was tired of the content on the others – this now has me focused on the ones that I regularly read. I don’t read each new post but it’s still there just as you said – I go to RSS to find a stable place of what I want to read – Twitter for ‘in-the-moment’ content.

  • http://cloudculturecontent.blogspot.com Adam

    Of course the graph is kind of frustrating–what’s the y-axis? For all we know it’s only been growing by the dozens, or the millions; no way to know without y-axis units!

  • http://www.amputeelife.com Tim

    Scoble’s arguments that Twitter RT, etc. are easier to understand are just way off base. The general (non-technical) user doesn’t know or care about Twitter and as someone already pointed out, trying to find/follow a story on Facebook is just too much work. Google Reader works in the way that I want to consume my content (in a categorized, simple to navigate form).

  • http://www.simplyeffective.co.nz Ben McNicoll

    Anyone who uses Google Reader, may want to check out Feedly… synchronises feeds with your GR account and provides some nice “magazine style” layouts in your browser.

    I’m not affiliated in any way, but it was the missing piece of the puzzle for me. I now read 90% of my news and blogs in it.

  • http://arcanasphere.com/blog/ AndrewJ

    It looks like WordPress is about to start doing some really interesting things with RSS and Windows 7 pinning.

    I’d say that RSS is about to get more lively.

  • http://www.Channelorama.com/ nk

    I use Channelorama – a neat online RSS reader. Allows me to choose from over a thousand available channels and I can add mine too. My favorite feature is to be able to personalize the dashboard.

    BTW, RSS is not going anywhere…at least, not anytime soon.