Is RSS Dead Yet?

Image of Groucho

So I’m building these web apps in my spare time (because that’s what I do), and I’m adding RSS feeds for certain types of updates, et cetera. But when I think of my immediate friends & family, I don’t picture them using RSS. Not everyone can be so serious about computers, I guess.

So, on a whim, I type into Google something like “Who uses RSS?” But all the articles start with something more like “Who uses RSS any more?

As if it were a fad.


RSS Gets the Last Laugh

Software screen capture

I have a confession: I’m a recovering webcomics addict. I used to follow up to fifty at a time, and I have a couple hundred bookmarked, which is not to speak of those disqualified. As you might imagine, this takes up a lot of time.

I finally managed to suppress this problem, but during the struggle I tried using RSS as a sort of “crutch of denial,” though it took a while to get to that point. For years I saw that RSS was available on many sites, but I didn’t understand what it was good for, since all it really does is relist a site’s content in a summarized form. I didn’t get it, especially since visiting the sites directly was usually a better experience. Also, there used to be some forking of the RSS format, which doesn’t help anything. But eventually I became curious enough to find that RSS could reduce the time it took to keep up with fifty webcomics since it meant I didn’t need to even visit a site unless RSS told me there was something new there.

However, using RSS ended up backfiring in a way. (more…)