Twitter vs. RSS

Twitter vs. RSSWhile reading tech news stories, I often see writers mention that RSS feeds are becoming irrelevant due to the increasing popularity of Twitter and Facebook, and the ability to get news through their feeds.  They would have you believe that RSS feeds and readers are on the way out, but I think quite the opposite is true.

It’s definitely possible that Twitter, or Facebook, or some new service will figure out a different way to format article links and titles embedded in updates in a predictable way that some new type of aggregator will be able to save for you.  But why would anybody do that when RSS is already ubiquitous.  Until these social networking feeds become strictly channelized, it’s tough to pull out every article from all your favorite news sources.  Even then, it still feels very kludgy to try and form the output of a Twitter feed into something as useful as RSS already is.

On a larger scale, I’m not convinced that the Twitter model will last in its current form anyway.  I’ve heard people whose opinions I respect say that Twitter will soon be the “new dial tone.”  It would be fun to think so, and I believe its style of communication will carve out a permanent place on the Internet, I just don’t think people will find it useful for everything.  Like so many technologies before Twitter – blogs, push, frames, chatrooms, and even RSS comes to mind – they’ve all found a their uses within the big picture, but they haven’t overtaken as some completely new and dominant paradigm like these writers would seem to imply.  They also say that the new attention-scattered generation is why Twitter will eventually take over, but it doesn’t appear that teens really care about these services more than their older counterparts.

Honestly, I’m not sure they know the scope of what they’re saying when they flippantly mention that RSS is becoming irrelevant.  Based on past experience, I wouldn’t look for the little orange RSS icons to go away any time soon.

(syndicated from