Has RSS Reached Its Peak With Only 11% User Adoption?

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KaylaKaze

I had RSS feeds written off as useless too, until I started using Google Reader about a month ago. I used to have a custom designed homepage where I had all the links to the web comics a read daily, along with a couple of news sources. I'd open the page and manually click through them. Plus I'd manually see all the new stuff at the ICHC sites. I must say using Google Reader not only has made this task MUCH easier (I wish Sluggy Freelance would get a RSS feed though) but it's also easier to throw in other places that had news I was interested in (MaxPC, Game Politics, Games Radar, PopSci, etc) or places where I wanted to know when they had new content (like Cinemassacre, Zero Punctuation reviews, and That Guy With The Glasses).

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Bizarre

I'm not an obsessive newsreader nor do I have hundreds of sites to wade through. I do the morning routine of skimming my list of sites by hand, so to speak. I have RSS feeds running stock-ticker style at the bottom of my firefox which I'm very happy with. I don't have to to any webpage to look at it, constantly spins stories and if something catches my eye I can easily access it. I think the name of the extension is RSS Ticker. It's a great RSS solution for a casual reader and makes a supplement to "by-hand" news checking.

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c8503

Frances you should try it. My GReader feed has only 8 sources and I'm hooked. It cuts down on the time spent going between multiple websites, presents info cleanly & greatly reduces advertising, not to mention tracking my reading trends (cool feature).

 I've gotten the 5 coworkers next to me started on GReader in past three weeks so despite the ~80% that said they didn't want to learn what RSS feeds were, once they see someone using it they'll flip. Increased penetration of smartphones will also change those numbers where the time spent going between websites is much more substantial. It really would make sense for RIM, Apple, Nokia, LG, etc to include readers that instead of mentioning the letters "RSS" just ask users what their favorite news sources are.

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FrancesTheMute

I have never really tried using Feeds, and never really saw the point.  I only have about 10 sites that I check regularly every day, and I don't really care if I miss a few articles here and there.  So I'm probably not the target audience for RSS feeds.

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Marsolin

I've heard many people make the argument about just going to the website being enough, but I don't buy it. If you are just looking to waste time with a couple sites then browsing is fine, but once you start paying attention to 10, 100, or more websites then you need a good way to save time and feeds are exactly that.

I suggested that my wife try feeds recently once she go into reading blogs and now she's hooked. The problem is one of motivation and people not understanding what they are missing. It's very similar to broadband. My parents were on dial-up for the longest time because they had adjusted their usage to it and didn't have the initiative to find out that more could be done. If RSS had existed before broadband you'd have fewer people OK with just browsing.

A potential driver for RSS in the future is the rise of smartphones. Browsing sites on a broadband enabled desktop is one thing. Trying to do it on a phone or small screened MID is something else. By using a feed reader to do the browsing everything becomes much more efficient.

You may notice a link to FeedsAnywhere in my signature. It's an online feeder my brother and I are working on to solve this problem. It has a scalable interface to work equally well on any screen size and is capable of determining which stories you'll find the most interesting. Duplicate detection and grouping similar items are also supported, although I'm still implementing the interface for grouping. To understand the benefit of grouping consider the upcoming Bloomfield or Shanghai launches. By viewing similar items the idea is to group all Bloomfield reviews together so you can find them without a lot of digging and be able to pick the most interesting ones to read.

Chad
http://linuxappfinder.com
http://feedsanywhere.com 

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icebird

I think one of the big problems with RSS is that "Live bookmarks" in Firefox make it look useless.  If that's the extent of your RSS experience, you'll see many comments like maniacm0nk3y's.

I didn't fully appreciate what RSS can do for me until I began using Google Reader.  Now, it's an indispensible part of my day.  I can quickly go through MANY news & blog sources, share the ones my friends are interested in, and save ones I want to follow up on later, or open ones I want more detail on----all without leaving a single webpage.

RSS feeds can include summaries, entire articles, or images and media.  It's entirely up to the content provider.  But you're missing out if you think that RSS is simply a list of links in a menu on your browser.

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maniacm0nk3y

I used FeedDemon, RSSOwl, Google Reader. I don't share with other people, read all the ones I subscribed to in one sitting. I know what RSS is....and I still think it's (almost) pointless

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maniacm0nk3y

RSS is useless in my opinion. Limited and why not just go to the site. Your bound to miss something if you just check the feeds.

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ubuwalker31

RSS feeds are for power users who want to digest tons of information in one sitting.  Most people want to interact with websites directly,not though google reader which is essentially an old school usenet newsreader.  I use pageflakes or netvibes or igoogle to digest rss feeds because the interface is visually better to use. 

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metric_inch

Bound to miss something?
With Thunderbird as my feed reader I never miss an article.
After a long weekend, or a couple of busy work days (where I don't even get to spend my lunch break goofing off) I can browse thru the RSS entries to see which articles are worth reading. No need to have to scroll thru a couple pages to find the older articles.

The little widget type feed readers that sit on your desktop/google/yahoo widgets are annoying, and useless. They only show current articles, so they are a distraction if you are actually trying to do work on your pc.

Anyone know how I can get Thunderbird to open/subscribe to a feed that I click on in Firefox?
It is a pain that I must copy the rss address, then get into TBs subscribe dialog myself.

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