Is Social Media Killing RSS?


Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a great way to consume information on the web. Clicking on the orange RSS icon (available on most blogs and news sites) allows you to "subscribe" to that source using your favorite RSS Reader. I recommend using most popular one: Google Reader.

However, despite its usefulness, RSS hasn't really seen massive adoption. Recently I've heard many techy types exclaiming they've stopped checking their RSS Reader. Instead they're finding more relevant links on Twitter. Social sites like Twitter are specifically built to encourage a lot of sharing. If you use Twitter to follow people in your industry, you'll inevitably be exposed to interesting discussion and links to very relevant topics.


Another emerging player in the link-sharing business is Facebook. Unlike RSS readers, Facebook has seen massive adoption, now boasting over 400 million users. Average folks can understand Facebook's simple interface. They’re also finding that it’s pretty easy to share news articles and Youtube links with their friends and family on Facebook.

So, have social media sites killed RSS before it reached its full potential? Personally I'm still using RSS for a number of things. Here are a few of my favorite uses for RSS:

Handy Uses for RSS

  1. Blogs - I'm a big fan of getting notified rather than constantly checking websites. If you follow a few dozen blogs, you don't want to be checking each of them every day for new posts. RSS readers allow you to browse quickly through new posts.
  2. Discover People on Twitter - Twitter's advanced search provides an RSS feed for your search results. For example, if you're an avid rock climber, you can search for people within 25 miles of your city who mention "rock climbing" in their tweet. Checking the RSS feed can help you discover local, like-minded enthusiasts.
  3. Craigslist Searches - Craigslist also provides an RSS feed for search results. Let's say you’re looking for an apartment downtown for between $600 and $1200. After your first search, subscribe to the RSS feed, and you can stop obsessively checking Craigslist every few hours! The most recent results will be waiting for you in Google Reader.

Do you think RSS will survive? Will it be killed by more popular information sharing tools? I'd love to hear your thoughts.