More and more I am finding RSS less useful. This is quite surprising to me, I am sure it will have confused some of you.
The thing is, while I still have some essential feeds that I check every day, it seems a feed reader does not factor as much into my productivity as it once did.
Take the tech niche for one example. At one time I would subscribe to Techcrunch, Scoble, Dave Winer, etc etc. No need any more. Check Techmeme once a day and you are golden. Even better, follow a few folks on Twitter and you will see what people are really talking about.
Just for one niche, that is a lot of redundant feeds right there.
Consider for a moment how many blogs duplicate the same old stories over and over. I must have seen twenty or more blogs cover the “Scoble Facebook Account Debacle” in one day, that has to mean many more actually mentioned it. One or two points of view is sufficient for even the most gnarly of topics, the blogosphere never leaves it there though and almost always goes into overkill out of fear of losing place in “the conversation”.
When your feed reader is filled with far fewer stories than blogs then you feel less drawn to check it every day. The news to blah ratio is getting worse all the time. Only a few blogs actually share something new and interesting.
Do you see what I mean? Is a feed reader becoming obsolete for all but a few important feeds?
What this means for bloggers is if you want to be subscribed to then you have to be compelling. Pull out all the stops. Provide information that can not be found anywhere else.
If you can not achieve this every day, you might be better concentrating on building a fantastic following on Twitter and other social networks and pull traffic that way.