01 Sep 2009

Really Simple Syndication vs. Really Simple Socialization

September 01, 2009Social Media

rssIs Twitter the new RSS? Seems things are starting to go that way. Where do you get your news from? Many of us in the past have utilized RSS feeds but a recent Forrester Research study found that only 9% of U.S. online adults are using these feeds on a monthly basis. Many have suggested that RSS feeds are a "Web 1.0 tool" that failed to catch on the same way Facebook and Twitter have. Why? 

Well for starters, RSS isn’t really that simple. Organizing is a pain, and keeping up with the information just seems impossible. Don’t forget the fact that there is no weight given to each specific blog post or article, so how are you suppose to determine which story is the most valuable when browsing news quickly? I suppose knowing it is coming from a trusted source is a good indication, but with sites like Facebook and Twitter you can see others impressions of the content quickly and easily to determine this.
Google’s recent post on their blog about RSS feeds answered the question: what great stuff should I read? This is likely their attempt to bring some people back to Google Reader which uses RSS feeds. They’ve compiled a list of the resources their Power Readers utilize. The power readers consist of: journalists, fashion critics, techies, foodies and more. But many are finding that RSS just isn’t cutting it, and they are turning to Twitter for all of their information.
twitter-signTwitter is a social way of getting the news. Many news outlets have started publishing content on Twitter, and oftentimes breaking news is posted here first. Following @Breaking News, @NYTimes, @Reuters, @CNN, @MSNBC, @CBSNews, @LaTimesNews, and others are just a few ways to stay connected. Even industry related topics are quickly available for your reading pleasure: just find the heavy hitters in your industry and follow their tweets. They are sure to pass on great information before you have the time to search it out.
Twitter also allows you to talk about the news with your friends, family, coworkers, and even strangers you’ve never met. This socialization factor is something that RSS can’t even come close to replicating. Socialization is the key to getting and keeping the attention span of our modern internet users. 

Where do you get your news? 


  • Amy Sep 01, 2009

    I’ve given up with Twitter, the short bit of text just doesn’t give justice to full news stories. I tend to just visit the actual website on my iPhone, like the BBC, NYT etc.

  • Spain Airports Sep 02, 2009

    I originally started then gave up on twitter, preferring facebook if anything.

    But I have slowly drifted back to twitter. Some things that have improved my twitter experience vastly:

    – iPhone apps like twitfon that are way friendlier than the standard web interface and intergrate with twitpic etc.

    – Being picky about my friends list on twitter, weeding out the dull and relentless and seeking out industry opinion makers. Always keep revising your list and be brutal.

    – Link up. My tweets are now published to my facebook profile including links and images etc via the twitter facebook app. I also publish tweets on my blog (as well as my fave google reader snippets). Enabling one interface to talk to a multitude of apps – I’m reaching my full audience and only having to post something once.

    As a result of these changes I found I am using twitter more effectively, though granted the short text bursts are not to everyone’s taste.

  • Jonathan Bentz Sep 02, 2009

    @Amy – I think you’re kind of missing what Kaila is saying. Sure, you do get a 140 character snippet of the news from Twitter… but she’s saying that these sites are using Twitter as a replacement for promoting RSS feeds. You see an interesting news story because you follow @CNN or whatever on Twitter, click the link, and read!

    I have actually set up Twitter accounts for each of my personal sports blogs with the intention of the account being little more than an RSS feed. Sure, if someone sends an @ or DM to the account I will respond… but I have noticed that traffic does come in from Twitter when your followers are engaged. I probably get a lot more clicks and traffic by engaging people on Twitter and syndicating through Twitter than I would if I promoted the heck out of my RSS feed.

  • Harrison Sep 02, 2009

    Twitter is not a good RSS reader. It’s good for the breaking news stories through the “what’s hot” feature but other than that it’s full of spam and worthlessness.

  • Kaila S. Sep 02, 2009

    If you are able to find and refine your list of people you are following I think Twitter can act better than the “whats hot” feature. While the “whats hot” feature is still great to use, I feel that following my favorite business sites, news sites, and others who are interested in sharing great information, I can really benefit from their tweets.

  • Kaila S. Sep 02, 2009

    You are right Jonathan, thanks for clarifying! I also have multiple accounts, and have found much success like you have. Try out HootSuite and other platforms that allow you to use all accounts at once. You’ll find that you are tweeting like a mad man with ease on each of your accounts. :)

  • Anna Smith Sep 03, 2009

    Thanks Jonathan for sharing this important information about twitter with us.
    Thanks a lot!

  • Anton Koroch Feb 16, 2010

    Just thought i would comment and say neat theme, did you code it yourself? Looks great.

  • Small Business Internet Marketing Apr 28, 2012

    Has anyone else noticed the fact that RSS seems to be fading away? I hardly EVER visit my RSS readers anymore. I have found Twitter to be a much more effective resource for finding relevant information.

    One thing I do use my RSS reader for though is to follow twitter trends. It’s easy to sift through the good and bad tweets on a subject. If something is tweeted more than once by someone I generally take a gander at it. Very useful tool.