I keep reading bloggery about how RSS is dead or dying. I'm concerned for the first time because Chrome doesn't have the little RSS square in the toolbar unless you engage in geekery to put one there. I have pooh-poohed the outcries foretelling the death of RSS because
- So many sites run on RSS behind the scenes. Any site that pulls in another site (which is most sites) relies on the pulled-in site's RSS feed.
- There is still a huge market/demand for RSS readers. Witness the new, fresh RSS reader apps for the iPad and Mac (eg, Reeder).
- How the hell else do you keep track of stuff you want to read?
The third point is most relevant. You can tell from the italics. RSS may be the most significant tool for information consumption and distribution since the advent of HTML itself; without it, we are left with giant unorganized streams of information in which to dip our tootsies and hope we find what we want.
That's way too random for me. I love RSS. RSS is the electronic version of dog-earing where I left off. How on earth are people consuming information in any kind of orderly fashion without it? This is a serious question. The folks who say Twitter is a replacement can't be serious. I'm so not going to sort through all that dreck for the feeds I want. I do find links of interest on Twitter (lots), but they're RANDOM. RSS is not random. It's organized. I like "organized." Without RSS, Twitter aside, I would have to (a) remember to visit all the sites I want to keep up with (impossible), (b) subscribe by e-mail to all the sites I want to keep up with (improbable; unwieldy), or, shudder, (c) hope they have Facebook pages and follow them there, where there is still no way to mark anything read.
I'm even worried by Flipboard for the iPad, which is cool and uses the heck out of RSS, but it fails to mark anything as read. It's still too much of the "random stream" paradigm for my taste. Am I becoming an Internet curmudgeon? "Back in my day we had to dial in to terminal servers! Uphill! Both ways! In the snow...!"