Why Bogus? Because it’s not a real debate. It’s just bombastic statements, and a perfect link-bait – which I admit I’ve just taken.
Steve Gillmor no longer uses Google Reader, he gets all the information he wants from Twitter, so he declares RSS dead. He says the race for real-time is already won. I agree – but real-time is not everything. There is still room for thoughtful analysis, where thoroughness is more important than timeliness.
Deja Vu? Yes, this is just like the evergreen Emal is Dead debate, which is being recycled every few months or so. Teens prefer IM or more recently Twitter, Facebook..etc status updates. Hm, perhaps they don’t have an awful lot to say, other then setting up dates or sexting… Then they grow up, get a job, and along with that their communication style changes: when you have to use arguments, build up a structure, or just have a written record of facts, email is hard to beat. Ok, let’s add wikis and other collaborative forms – the point is, long-form media is not dead.
How much can you say in 140 characters? I could have tweeted my disagreement with Steve, but could not have argued – hence the blog post, and RSS is still a pretty good mechanism to make all those posts and articles consumable.
Oh, yeah, that real-time argument. It is true. It’s very hard to beat having tens of millions of field reporters with their mobile phones on the street, whenever something happens. No wonder Twitter has become the first source reporting earthquakes. But look at the communication fiasco around the recent swine flu outbreak (yeah, I know, H1%&^%). Twitter got absolutely overwhelmed with panicky, histerical tweets, there was absolutely no way to make any sense of it. Twitter failed as a source of information.
But it’s not so much about the 140 character messages, but the links they may contain: Twitter (along with Facebook, FriedFeed ..etc) can be a reasonable good social filtering / recommendation system, just like blog posts (read via RSS) served when we stopped reading mainstream media a few years ago. Not that I am not reading Media at all: just don’t have to fish for content anymore, since whatever I find interesting is likely referred to by someone I read – or follow, in twitterspeak.
I admit I have less and less time to read everything in my Google Reader, and the practice of setting the “read all” flag whenever my unread count is above 1000 is a colossal waste. But when I do have time to dive in, I usually discover gems I would totally have missed relying only on Twitter. So the solution is not dumping RSS, but getting more disciplined about using it:
- prune, prune, prune (Google reader stats show you what you haven’t read for ages)
- scan in list mode, only dive into interesting stuff
My RSS reader is a treasure chest I am not giving up, real-time or not.