Today was the first time in weeks that I opened up my Sage RSS reader on my Firefox browser. Before that it would have been weeks again.
Once my first action on opening up Firefox was to hit the green Sage button in the toolbar and then avidly scroll through to look who in my blogroll had been active. More often than not I would carefully note the headers and then dip into each of the posts looking for stories of interest. As over time my blogroll extended the reaction to the list in the Sage window also changed. Often it was only my favorite bloggers that were accorded more than a cursory glance at the blog headers with many no doubt fine pieces of writing consigned to the netherlands under a Mark As Read tick.
Soon more competition for my time came along in the form of Twitter. At first with a relatively manageable list to follow it didn’t take too much time to check the list of tweets. In not too much time though my following list began to extend considerably. At the same time more and more of my followees began to include more and more links, more and more announcements of their updates across more than just blogs and more and more retweets that lead to more and more followees of interest. As a result it is now not uncommon to open up Tweetdeck, (which is now my first app opened, even before the browser), to find hundreds of overnight tweets waiting to be devoured. Of course at the same time as these are being acted upon still more flow in.
Now to further compound the problem I haven’t yet learned how to best discriminate, (or the 140 character limit effectively hides), between the gloss and the dross. As a result I am more than likely to click on multiple tweet links opening multiple browser tabs before I get around to perusing the results. This becomes a rather disjointed process as in the frenzy of tab opening I often lose the raison d’etre for having clicked the link. This necessitates checking back to the twitterstream which further soaks up precious time.
The general result of all this then is that my RSS habit has been supplanted by another “drug of choice” in the immediate hit supplied by Twitter. It was interesting then to find the following item and link from Read Write Web and ponder further whether that age of RSS is over even before the majority of computer users had even realised it had arrived?
One of the interesting trends of 2009 has been the gradual decline of RSS Readers as a way for people to keep up with news and niche topics. Many of us still use them, but less than we used to. I for one still maintain a Google Reader account, however I don’t check it on a daily basis. I check Twitter for news and information multiple times a day, I monitor Twitter lists, and I read a number of blogs across a set of topics of most interest to me.
Frankly I’m more likely to use Google Reader to search for specific information nowadays, than to scan my subscribed feeds for their latest posts. So what’s happened to RSS Readers. Do people still use them and is there still a viable market for them?