Before I start this article, I have to be very frank. I stopped using Google Reader almost 16 months ago. I no longer read RSS feeds. However, that in no way means RSS in itself is dead. RSS lives on in every product we could possibly imagine using, be it mobile devices or tablets.
I am having this discussion because I want to drive home a point. Website Syndication might be down, but RSS will live on. It will continue to be a way to deliver content to mobile devices, embedded devices, tablets and what not. The RSS platform in itself is not dead at all. It’s the preference on how users want to read their content is what is changing.
Earlier today, TechCrunch said that RSS is dying, and then declared a RSS war with the developer of RSS. The whole thing sounded amusing at best, but here is what the case is, MG Seigler is missing the point. RSS is a technology that provides a backbone to syndicating content, not feed readers. Just because you read news on your iPhone app or Twitter or Facebook does not mean that RSS does not play any part there.
RSS provides an option to users to provide data in a structured format and many iPhone apps, Android apps and other mobile platform apps make use of this structured data to display data in a customized format, without RSS it would be very hard to pull in data if not impossible. Even Twitter and Facebook provide feeds in some form or the other, this is because other users or devices or apps make use of this data to provide you with data in a customized format.
Having apps designed to query your database directly when RSS exists is not only bad programming, it is stupid. Why? Because, RSS provides you with the same data without having to go through all the pain and is much more easier to consume.
Now here is a question? Where does most of the links in Facebook and Twitter come through? Sites like Twitterfeed and Networked Blogs, which well use RSS to post links to these sites. Of course, you might say that I post my own links, but have you researched how many links on Twitter or Facebook are actually posted by users verses these automated clients?
So, the matter of fact is that RSS is going to live through a long life. People will stop reading RSS in their feed readers, but they will continue reading RSS on their phones and Twitter and Facebook and continue proclaiming RSS is dead. That you don’t notice it does not mean that it is dead, it means that you don’t know what you are talking about. Feed Readers are getting extinct for God’s sake.
These are just my 2 cents about some opinion that is not just flawed but also puts the wrong perspective into users mind. I would suggest you read Matthew Ingram’s article about RSS being dead too.
Update: RSS is rocking, well, Google is putting RSS leechers on top of actual content writers, which is good sign for content stealers who steal other’s work and post it on their own website. This would never be possible without RSS. You cannot blame Google for it, for the past 16-18 months they have been tackling the same issue, but it looks like they are still clueless about it.
Check the screenshot above, you will spot my name in the top two articles, my signature bad writing et al, but not Techie Buzz where I write? But this all thanks to RSS.