RSS-Fu: Why RSS “Isn’t Quite Dead”

I was surfing on Twitter this evening while walking the dog when I came across a few tweets from Robert Scoble touching on the idea of Twitter replacing RSS as a way to get information. Twitter is a lot of fun, especially when checking out what your peeps are saying, but the problem is, even with lists and blocking spam-tards, you’re still getting a lot more info from the firehose than you might need. But Twitter is the hot thing going on right now, at least until FourSquare takes over (as is usual in the tech sector).

But Twitter replacing RSS feeds totally?

Not to say that I disagree with some of tech’s heavy hitters, but are y’all kidding me?

While not as important as it once was (or was considered to be), RSS still plays a part in attracting people to your blog or social media hub, or providing that content to a selected audience. A big part of social media, especially for businesses, is creating kick ass content and getting people to come to your site to check out your latest creations. RSS delivers that info to people who have requested it, and why would you want to discount that? Plus RSS feeds from blogs and Google searches (yep, Google searches can be used as RSS feeds and delivered to your favorite feed reader) are one of the pillars of what Chris Brogan has referred to as your social media listening hub.

And RSS is important if you’re a business or PR firm looking to create a media hub for yourself or your clients.  It’s an easy way for you to direct content to your target stakeholder audiences (media, shareholders, clients, etc). Give them the RSS feed to their FeedDemon or Google Reader and let them take care of the rest.

I do agree with the view that RSS isn’t as important as it used to be, or is considered to have been, but still plays a part in your overall social media strategy. Ask yourself one question, if RSS didn’t matter then why do all of these social media peeps still have RSS feeds to their blogs?

Author: Benson Hendrix

Benson Hendrix, APR has been called everything from a “social media zen warrior” to the ” ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper of Public Relations,” and from a “behind the scenes powerbroker,” to “the loudmouth PR love child of Henry Rollins and Anthony Bourdain,” but doesn’t really believe any of it (except maybe the “Rowdy” Roddy Piper part). Hendrix is the Social Media Manager for the University of New Mexico and loves helping organizations and people tell the stories that are important to them. He is also an adjunct social media instructor at the University of New Mexico, and the Social Media Strategist for TEDxABQ. In the few minutes a week he calls "spare time," he relaxes with his wife and chases his dream to be a better photographer.

4 thoughts on “RSS-Fu: Why RSS “Isn’t Quite Dead””

  1. This is from an admitted RSS addict, but I’m very hopeful that RSS is a fundamental part of Internet infrastructure at this point. An underappreciated benefit of RSS is the ability to know you’ve seen “all” of something important (e.g., all of your neighborhood watch announcements). The happenstance of Twitter (or any social media) just doesn’t make that possible. Please don’t take my RSS away!

    1. Hey Will! I think RSS should be a vital part of all Internet communications from here on out (if it’s not already). It tends to be overlooked by whatever is shiny and new, but it just keeps chugging along quietly behind the scenes.

  2. FWIW, the only tweets I read come to me in Google Reader. I agree with Will that knowing you’re only seeing something you haven’t read already is one of the great benefits of RSS. Plus the removal of the original source’s layout, making everything one homogeneous stream (but Twitter has the same effect). Twitter could conceivably replace RSS *excerpts* but I don’t subscribe to excerpts — I want the whole article in Reader — no way Twitter could handle that. Finally, we should hope a closed/proprietary system won’t replace an open one — that’s anti-Web. Still, the vast majority of Web users don’t have a clue about RSS and wouldn’t miss it. Of course, those same people haven’t a clue about Twitter. (Scoble? Do people still read him?)

    1. Hey Mark! Greetings from sunny-ish San Antonio! 🙂 Twitter is good I think as an engagement platform, but especially a broadcast platform, getting those people you engage with to come to your blog to check out the full story. But RSS has been part of the Internet for long enough that it has established itself as the go-to dissemination mechanism. And I think it’ll remain free, until Google figures out how to monetize Feedburner (which every one appears to use).

      People might not like the readers sometimes (I jump between FeedDemon and Awasu myself) but they do top Twitter on getting you the info you want and bypassing the chaff.

      Of course people still read Scoble. 😉 heck I’ve been called the next Scoble by some people (Thanks Will! 🙂 )

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