ReadWriteWeb (RWW) have posted a piece highlighting that one of the interesting technology trends of 2009 has been the growing decline of RSS Readers. Richard MacManus, who wrote the post, mentions that whilst he maintains a Google Reader account, he doesn’t check it everyday but does check Twitter for news information multiple times a day.
So is Richard typical? Do you increasingly turn to the Twitter stream to pick up news and links to interesting blog posts or are you still having a look at the RSS feeds you subscribe too?
Looking at the comments the RWW article has generated it looks like many are still using good old RSS readers, indeed a number say that they came across the piece in their RSS feeds. I for one am still using an RSS reader, but over the year I’ve changed my reader. At the start of the year I was reading my RSS feeds in my web browser, I use Flock, which yes is a bit slow to start up in comparison to Firefox and Safari (and no doubt Chrome which I’ve yet to try) but I like the way it allows me to manage my blogs, email, delicious accounts etc. I also like the way it organises RSS feeds and supports Firefox extensions. Over the past 12 months I’ve also used Netvibes and Pageflakes to share RSS feeds with others and to show them what RSS feeds are as many of the staff and students I speak to have never heard of RSS feeds and don’t know what they are. I’ve also used Bloglines, but tried to resist setting up a Google Reader account, (I think because I see Google as the new Microsoft). Then around about 6 months ago I heard about Feedly. I liked the look of Feedly as it gives you more of a magazine feel to reading RSS feeds. I started using it and now it’s my default RSS reader. As it runs off Google Reader I had to give in to my resistance and create an account, but I manage all my feeds in Feedly rather than the clunky Google interface. At the moment Feedly runs on Firefox and it also now supports Chrome. There have been requests for it to run on Safari and for an iPhone app and you get the sense that if enough of the user community shout for this the Feedly guys will support these developments .
I dip in out of Feedly during the day, I can post articles to Twitter, bookmark them to Delicous or Diigo, post to Posterous, Tumblr, Evernote etc and share articles, as you can with Google Reader.
So do I think RSS in in decline? It isn’t for me. I do pick things up from Twitter and start subscribing to some blogs websites because of the links I pick up for my Twitter network, but my RSS feeds are my magazine shelf which I dip in and out of. Also with the the vast majority of individuals who use the web still not knowing what RSS is, whilst it maybe in decline for some there’s may be also a sense in which it’s still waiting to be discovered.