If You Think RSS is Dead Then That’s Your Loss and It’s a Big One

Sam Diaz at ZDNet tonight wrote the latest admission that he’s not using his RSS reader anymore. I have a lot of respect for Sam’s writing, but I am having a hard time believing that he and so many others say they no longer even bother to read feeds. Twitter, Facebook and aggregators like Techmeme or Google News suffice for Sam, he says. He’s far from alone.

They sure don’t suffice for me. I do get a whole lot of story leads, perspective and more from Twitter (something I wrote about in an article titled Twitter is Paying My Rent) but RSS is no less important for me today than it used to be.

I’m hesitant to write about my own research methods, to be honest, because if my competitors want to abandon RSS that’s just fine with me! But for other readers here, I will say that social media like Twitter has only added to my inflow – not replaced feeds at all.

I will tell you that I no longer use Google Reader or Netvibes. Instead, I use open source software on our own servers that is more customizable, more reliable and more efficient.

Our team scans over thousands of company RSS feeds each morning for updates (what news writer wouldn’t do that?) and we use an open source customizable meme-tracker to make sure we haven’t missed anything important. We use open source RSS parsing software to set up a dashboard tracking all our competitors’ feeds, we use an RSS to IM alert system to get some feeds sent to us right away and at least some of us use Gmail Webclips for another layer of ambient feed tracking.

We use Postrank to track breakout hits in niche blogs and we use tools like Snackr or the just-launched LazyFeed to keep an eye on specific feeds or general topics.

In other words, I use RSS all day long. Anyone who is competitive in their field and doesn’t just might be crazy.