RSS is dead and Facebook and Twitter killed it! Or at least that’s what some web & trend-watching bloggers conclude from the demise of Bloglines, the once cutting-edge web-based feedreader. And indeed, people are increasingly discovering news items and memes through their friends’ status updates, re-tweeting or -sharing stuff they deem interesting. And yes Flipboard, which scans your Facebook & Twitter feeds for links (scraping content from the pages instead of using feeds, to the dismay of some publishers), is the talk of the iTown. Look ma, no RSS! But hold your horses; do you know what the most requested feature for Flipboard is? Integration with Google Reader and the ability to include RSS-feeds is in high demand as well! And while we’re at it, Google Reader seems not to be doing too bad either, according to their own stats, probably because Reader -as opposed to Bloglines- continuous to evolve, integrating a slew of social features. Reader is also the primary source for Feedly, a popular browser add-on that offers a magazine-like view on subscribed feeds. And proving RSS is not dead yet, Automattic last week launched Subscriptions on wordpress.com, which displays your subscribed feeds in a stream-like fashion, including the writer’s profile picture and a ‘reblog’ and ‘like’ button (i.e. resembling what Peter Van Dijck proposed earlier that day). Even if RSS-readers would ever become marginalized, RSS and similar standardized XML-based newsfeeds (think Atom) are indispensable to syndicate content from one site in another application. After all, how do you think news outlets and blogs feed their content into Twitter and Facebook in the first place?
I decided to start auto-posting weekly digests of my Lifestream-events to this blog, but wanted to prevent those items from polluting my rss-feed (call me a old-fashioned, but I like rss-feeds to have some body instead of just a couple of links and an occasional YouTube-clip). This turned out to be very easy with some category-tinkering and thanks to Feedburner. Here’s what I did:
Add a category “rss-able” and make it the parent of all existing categories
Add a category “web wandering” (not under “rss-able” off course) and configure Lifestream to use that for the digests
I decided to start auto-posting weekly digests of my Lifestream-events to this blog, but wanted to prevent those items from polluting my rss-feed (call me a old-fashioned, but I like rss-feeds to have some body instead of just a couple of links and an occasional YouTube-clip). This turned out to be very easy with some category-tinkering and thanks to Feedburner. This is what I did: 1. Add a category “rss-able” and make it the parent of all existing categories 2. Add a category “web wandering” (not under “rss-able” off course) and configure Lifestream to use that for the digests 3. Configure Feedburner to use http://blog.futtta.be/rss-able/feed instead of http://blog.futtta.be/feed 4. Exclude both new categories from being displayed in my “category cloud” widget And there you have it; my Google Reader shared items, YouTube video’s and favorites, Facebook status and Tweets (if ever I would decide to do such a thing) are automatically collected in a weekly blogpost without bothering rss-readers or my Facebook-friends (who get that info shoved down their throats via Facebook-imports of the individual feeds anyway).
RT @ubertwit: om 18h twunch met @twitaholic en @tweeter in #pizzahut gent, reply @twunch als je er ook zal zijn
Voor twitteraars een duidelijke boodschap (vertaling beschikbaar bij je twitterende buurjongen), maar als deze tweet volautomatisch in de context van Facebook wordt gegooid, is dit “utter gibberish” waar je FB-friends niets aan hebben. Nee, dan is de “Selective Twitter update”-applicatie een veel beter alternatief; enkel tweets waarin #fb voorkomt worden daarmee geïmporteerd. Ik zou mijn Twitterende Facebook-vrienden dan ook vriendelijk willen vragen om een beetje selectief te zijn met wat ze op Facebook gooien. Uw context is de mijne immers niet!
(*) Hoe je zelf moet importeren in Facebook? In je profiel op de ‘settings’-knop onder het status-update venster klikken en je zou iets moeten zien dat op het screenshot hierboven lijkt.
[Newspapers] copied their paper/website logic to RSS feeds without adapting it to the medium. As a result, you get long lists of news articles with no difference between front-page news and a small article at the back of the newspaper.
To solve this problem, he proposes editors to (also) offer a “front-page feed”, which would contain only the most popular (automatic) or most important (handpicked) items. Not a bad idea at all (are you listening, deredactie?), but even more important; shouldn’t news-websites start treating RSS as a publication-channel in its own right, containing the entire article (and why not even enclosures for AV-material)? Because, expecting me to click through, seriously?
I don’t have the time to click through when quickly skimming through my feeds at work
I can’t click through when reading offline, on the train
RSS-feeds can indeed be a great way for readers to focus on content, without the overhead of the “normal” website-context. Heck, I’d even accept some text-ads and links to related items in there if need be. Publishers will sooner or later really have to let go of the concept of their (semi-)walled garden as the only place where visitors are allowed to consume their content (as they had to let go of the paper-only distribution-model). Focus on reach (“content views”) instead of pageviews, allow your readers to decide in which context the content is consumed (think rss-reader, think syndication, think mash-ups, …)! I happened to stumble across this full atom-feed for deredactie.be, containing entire articles and enclosures for images, audio and video and it’s just great! I’m sure it could help info-overloaded users to keep more up-to-date with the news and that an official (because this one isn’t) full feed from deredactie could massively improve the reach of the great VRT nieuwsdienst content (according to CIM they’re really not doing that great when compared to the competition). So, let me quote Bert; “Mr. editor in chief, please help RSS to become the success it deserves to be” and I’ll happily add “Set your content free!” to that.