Why RSS is not dead, will not be and the major difference with Twitter

RSS is great — it never has been widely accepted by the masses but still, it’s really useful. And there’s a big distinction between how RSS is and how is supposed to be used, and Twitter. In the true form of things, they never competed — and if they did — that was a mistake.

The main difference between those two (RSS, Twitter) is time-relevancy. And, well, acceptance and usage from the masses. That’s where RSS is behind.

Time-relevancy and the real-time newsfeed

Twitter took off for several reasons. One of them is the “instantness.” Using Twitter, a user gets to know what happens *right now* in the world, real-time, for whatever he’s interested in. Be it the Arab Spring, celebrity news, an earthquake, citizen-journalism from around the globe, breaking tech news, etc, etc. Occasionally, a user also gets to know real-time commentary and thoughts about the things happening or your usual Instagram lunch.

All those are great, don’t get me wrong. And I love them — I’ve used Twitter since 2008 in every possible way. Irrelevant status updates, easing my boredom at airports, Instagram lunches, chat-room, covering political protests in my hometown (see pictures at Flickr,) “breaking” tech news and all the usual yada yada.

But RSS is different

And most importantly, not a competitor. Well, back in the early days (2007-2008) one could argue that possibly those two technologies could compete — but not anymore.

RSS is not instant, yet it is contemporary. This is a very important logical step to make. Think of RSS as your contemporary, although not 100% real-time, editorial and commentary on all things interesting for you. You know, the aforementioned list without the Instagram-lunch tweets.

Twitter is like Reuters and Associated Press; RSS is like Time and The Economist (or any other similar media outlet based on your interests.) A good curated news platform customized by you. With the things you care about and all. And of course, there are several ways to read your RSS feeds; the most prominent one is Google Reader (I can also recommend Reeder app for iOS.)

Now, one could think of ways to make better the curation flow and how to organize your feeds, how to find new blogs and relevant information, etc — but this is not our topic.

In the same way we can distinguish between Flipboard and Zite. Though the differences are not based on time-relevancy. I will follow-up.

posted: April 17, 2012
under: Editorials, Web

3 Responses

  1. Konstantinos says:

    Still sometimes you think that one (Twitter — Google+ in my case; it’s the same to what I will say – even Facebook applies here) overlaps the other (RSS). If you follow some sites/persons you’ll see that they are also updating with their new posts/articles/whatever (I’ll just call it ‘post’ from now on) making RSS on a way useless, since the main use of RSS (to learn about new posts from pages you want) is being fainted.

    And I believe that is even more obvious to Google+ (and Facebook) where you’re allowed for longer shares, so you can inform about what we are gonna read (Twitter’s tweet is called share — for the Twitter users) and moreover a preview of the link it has been noted is being given. The only advantage of RSS against those network was that I can read a portion of the post, so I can see if I like it and visit the originate site to read it all. That’s becoming obsolete here.

    I continue using RSS (through the eternal Google Reader) to monitor some sites without a page/profile to networks I’m in, but RSS unfortunately is dying, as social media is growing (even if some like you and me are continue using it).

    /* By the way I came here because you posted the link to this post on G+; see? I read that before even opening Google Reader. */

  2. Apostolos says:

    Konstantinos, yes, regarding the overlapping – it can possibly exist but personally, I don’t mind. If I get the tweet about x’s new blog post I can easily ignore the RSS item or the Tumblr link, etc.

  3. […] organizzati in categorie, lo standard Rss non è affatto desueto. Si può dire che Twitter è come un’agenzia di stampa, mentre un lettore di Rss funzioni come il proprio giornale […]