Poll: Are you still using RSS?

RSS Question Mark IconI still put links to RSS feeds on most of the sites I build. If I’m being honest, that’s mostly because I still swear by them for myself. Since Google Reader died, I’ve switched to Feedly and supplemented that with Pocket. I assume many others use RSS too. But is that actually true?

In a thoroughly unscientific poll, I’m hoping that you’ll take 10 seconds to quickly give me a sense of whether you still use RSS. The information I gather—along with other  research—will culminate in a longer post about how I plan to move forward.

[If you’re using an RSS reader or subscribe via email, come to the site to take the poll.]

And if you have a bit of extra time, let me know in the comments how you consume your feeds.

12 thoughts on “Poll: Are you still using RSS?”

  1. I stopped using Google Reader (and any other RSS reader) long before it went away. Recently I found myself relying more and more on Google Now on my Android phone.
    The thing with RSS readers is that I get caught up in the “all-you-can-eat-buffet” syndrome, i.e. I end up adding the feed URLs for any site I can think of, and then I suffer from noise indigestion when some sites (that I don’t even care all that much about) are updated very frequently, and drown out the ones I otherwise would follow consistently. So at some point I only paid attention to email updates from sites I had subscribed to, and when I lose interest, I just unsubscribe.
    But in the last few months Google Now started pointing out updates to sites I had visited recently, but not subscribed to. Now I check Google Now every day (and that was before the World Cup started!), and the suggestions it offers are exactly the stuff I would hope a smart RSS reader would give me. And that’s based on my actual behavior, not on any kind of wishful thinking.
    Realistically, with direct site visits, and email newsletter subscriptions, I think I consistently follow about a dozen sites, not much more than that.
    Your updates, by the way, were suggested to me by Google Now.

    1. Great points all around @fulvio. You’re right that RSS can be a bit too much of a firehose at times, particularly on certain types of sites. Google Now’s predictive content recommendations have been interesting. I’ve loosely tracked how it does and doesn’t align with my RSS reading habits. I try to keep subscription stuff out of my inbox but that’s certainly a personal preference.

      If nothing else, it sounds like we can both agree that the World Cup is more important than all of this stuff right now!

  2. I’d like to propose to the government of the small city where I live that they post all public notices regarding economic development proposals and zoning changes on the City’s website as well as in a newspaper, as required by law. Would it be appropriate to also ask that the City enable people to follow public notices using an RSS feed? Is there any reason not to ask for using RSS?

    1. That’s a great idea. As Fulvio mentioned above, RSS can be a bit of an “all-you-can-eat-buffet”—I’ve also heard it called a “firehose.” In the case of notices required for the purposes of transparency, however, RSS seems perfect.

      I didn’t mention above that I also like RSS because most readers keep an archive listing what I’ve read. When I need to find “that one article about {X} I read last July,” sometimes my RSS reader is the fastest way to that answer.

      Now of course, there’s the issue of asking local government to implement a specific technology, but I won’t get into that. What I will say is that if they can’t do it, there are “web-to-RSS” services that attempt to generate a feed based on any web page. At least in the short term, that may be your best bet, though you’d be wise to keep track of the accuracy of the generated feed at first.

  3. Thanks for this — I’ve been wondering the same thing! I’m a little late chiming in, but here’s my take anyway… After trying multiple feed readers, and never really liking them or keeping up with the feeds I follow, I did like someone else mentioned and started relying on email subscriptions, until that got too overwhelming. So I went back to RSS, but now I use the Brief app on Firefox and love it. I set it as my home page so I never forget to check :) There isn’t a mobile equivalent, but since it works with Live Bookmarks, syncing my bookmarks works just fine. And as someone else also does, I’ve got everything organized by task or category, since it’s so easy to set up multiple feed folders. And with Brief, I got my partner hooked on RSS now, too! Hope this helps with your scientific research ;)

  4. Update since my initial comment: I _still_ don’t use RSS ;-), at least not in the spirit your question probably was intended. But I started using Slack a few months ago, and I added the RSS integration to one channel. In my case, I did it to get notified about checkins to a particular Github repository, because I didn’t have time to configure the Guthub integration. But it made me think that one could use Slack as an RSS reader, too, on top of everything else.
    By the way, I still use Google Now, but it’s now giving me fewer updates, instead of more, even though my usage has not changed. Maybe they are being cautious about trying to avoid the firehose problem.

    1. Fulvio, that’s a really interesting point about Slack! I participate in a channel around a blog and it would be great if stories got piped in as they were posted to stimulate conversation. In fact, I might go off and suggest that. The number of things that spit out RSS does probably lend itself to lots of interesting unintended uses. I’ve never done much with IFTTT, but their RSS integration is pretty neat.

      Very interesting about Google Now. I bet you’re right about them avoiding the firehose. That or they’re about to kill it off, just like Google Reader… :P

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