Just the day after I posted the article about Google Reader an article was published on ReadWriteWeb (RWW) with the title “RSS Reader Market in Disarray, Continues to Decline“. The story states that the number of unique visitors to RWW who use Feed Readers has been declining and that the Feed Readers have made little progress recently in terms of features and functionality.
No doubt, the tools interacting with social media feeds have been in the center of attention in the past year. But their hype does not yet make them as useful as the best feed readers. And the data to support the article comes from just one source and does not yet represent a trend.
The comments that the article receives, demonstrate that for most people the news readers are truly useful and are the primary tools used to follow what is happening. This is very true for me as well. The report about the death of RSS Readers seems to be greatly exaggerated.
The writer of the story, Richard MacManus, states that he follows Twitter and Twitter Lists for news multiple times per days and only uses Google Reader for specific searches. Implied is that the Twitter model is somehow superior.
RSS News Feeds and Social Media Streams are two distinct content streams that are kept separate by their technology, not by substantial semantic differences:
- Twitter allows you to subscribe to an RSS feed of the results of any search at search.twitter.com. Why no RSS feeds for individuals and/or lists?
- Google Reader could support the Twitter API and present Tweets to the user like all other XML content.
Either of these two approaches would allow us to mash the two content streams and use one reader for both. It would greatly simplify my life, and I guess that of many others as well.