Critics of Rich Site Summary, RSS, have claimed for a long time that the medium was useless. After the death of the popular RSS application Google Reader in July of 2013, those same critics rallied to say that the redundant medium had finally breathed its last. Here are three reasons why those claims are foolish and why RSS continues to thrive in the digital age.
Google Reader May Be Dead…
There is no denying Google Reader was an important part of why RSS for websites was so popular. In 2009, readwrite reported that Google’s RSS reader has 59% of the market share. Of course, markets shift and preferences change, and the tech giant finally made the call to shut down this service. The thing is that Google’s dominance of the RSS feed for websites reader market did not promote competition. It is a commonly held opinion that Reader maintained its popularity because, well, everything else sucked.
Now that Goliath has been slain there is a steady stream of useful, well designed readers for RSS feeds for websites being released. Feed Reader for Chrome and Pulse for mobile platforms are two such services that have really stepped up to the challenge.
CNN Money states that the ease with which content can be syndicated and shared via RSS for websites is not the main reason for its new found vitality. Instead, the fact that web users are increasingly crunched for time with content overload holds the answer. Consider, RSS feed readers congregate all of your favorite feeds into one place. You do not have to go looking for them. They are just there. This saves time and adds convenience.
Content Providers Still Need It
Businesses, celebrities, and bloggers still use RSS in a big way. The blogger who shares his content via RSS for websites stands to generate a lot of extra traffic via the free form of syndication and the sharing that will certainly follow. The fact is that so long as content providers continue to promote RSS as a useful service consumers will follow suit. Admittedly, this is contingent on there being well designed solutions, like Feedly and Pulse, that make sharing both social and intuitive.
RSS is not a dead medium. As you can see, Google Readers untimely demise does not signal the death cry of the format but rather an opportunity for a rebirth. Like the phoenix, RSS is growing out of the ashes of Reader in a revivified, redesigned way. So long as the medium continues to adapt to its users it will continue to thrive.