Will Twitter Kill the RSS star?

When I speak at conferences or training seminars, I ask who in the room has heard of RSS. Despite the fact it’s been around for close to a decade, generally less than 10% of attendees are aware of it.

I always explain that RSS lowers barriers: people no longer need to go to many different websites to see if there are updates: the updates come to them. They can get them in email or via a feed reader (I use Google Reader).

And then I tell them about Twitter: people get updates from trusted friends about what they’re reading or have written: the updates come to them. They can get them on their phone, in email or via a twitter client (I use Seesmic Desktop).

@jowyangFor awhile, I subscribed to Jeremiah Owyang’s Web Strategist blog, and I followed him on Twitter. When he wrote a new blog post, he’d tweet about it, and I’d go read it. Later when I checked Google Reader, the same post would show up. While a feed reader program prevents me from having to go to multiple sites, I still have to go to one. (Note: when I had a PC I used the Feedreader client, which popped up a notification when the feeds I subscribed to were updated. This overcomes this challenge). With an omnipresent twitter client, I get immediate notification when a friend tweets a link.

Twitter also helps filter the information we receive. With an RSS subscription, we get every post. With Twitter, we either see posts that our friends recommend, or have written themselves. We make the choice to click-through, but there is already some vetting that occurs.

Now this is a consideration: when I go to my Google Reader, it’s because I have the time and attention to read a post. With Twitter there is the chance that a tweet will pass me by when I’m not ready to check it out. Personally, I use the “favorites” feature of twitter to keep track of links that I want to come back to later.

So will (or has) Twitter replace RSS as a way for people to get notification of updated content online? What do you think?

3 thoughts on “Will Twitter Kill the RSS star?

  • Thats the key: “And then I tell them about Twitter: people get updates from trusted friends about what they’re reading or have written: the updates come to them. They can get them on their phone, in email or via a twitter client “ & “Twitter also helps filter the information we receive. “

    I used to not follow @Mashable for the longest time. As great as they are, I’m not interested in every tweet that comes from them. Instead, I allow users I follow to retweet their content (I know they will). Granted, today I do follow them.

    That said, I was all about teaching the company I work for about RSS feeds, because no one knows about them; it was a foreign language. And that was last year — This year it is Twitter.

    I do think that Twitter will kill RSS star.

    Matthew Ray’s last blog post..Your Social Networks Have Different Audiences!

    Follow me on twitter: MatthewRay

  • I love the RSS – especially since most of the feeds I subscribe to are full feeds. Staying in my reader is a beautiful thing. I don’t follow any Twitter profiles purely for their blog posting; if that’s all someone is giving me, I’d unsubscribe. I want to read interesting things on Twitter, not be told: go here to read about what I’m not telling you here.

    That being said, I follow retweeted links and tweet links myself – including when I post a blog post. Because (a) people send me to places that have feeds I’m not subscribed to, and (b) I know people aren’t like me, and like getting a blog post notification via Twitter.

    Melissa’s last blog post..It’s Been A While, I Know

    Follow me on twitter: melissabernais

  • I stopped using my RSS reader a loooong time ago because I never seemed to have time to read it, always felt like I was behind, and rarely thought to open it in the first place. Twitter feels much more like the metaphorical river; I can go sit by it’s waters and watch its flow whenever I want.

    RSS is a powerful workhorse that works unseen, kinda like the mythical Atlas. I don’t think that will change anytime soon. In a way, it’s like Flash vs. HTML … there will always be HTML even if we pay it no heed.

    Taj Moore’s last blog post..Principles At Work In Professional Collaboration: Denver June 2009 Notes

    Follow me on twitter: tajmo

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