Posts Tagged ‘rss’

Social Media Outcry As Google Reader Gets Set To Shut Down

I’ve said this many times before, but I’ll say it again; when news hits the fastest way to learn about it is combing though social media.

Yesterday I was traveling and was in airports and on planes all day, so it wasn’t until I landed and opened Twitter that found out that Google announced yesterday that they were going to be shutting down Google Reader this summer. Google Reader, which launched in 2005 became one of the most used RSS readers by people around the world. Even many fancier RSS reader programs integrated with Google Reader to get their accounts and feeds from. I was upset about this news, but I wasn’t the only one.

This morning I took to MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, to take a quick look at some of the reactions around Google Reader. Just in the past few days there was almost 317,000 mentions of Google Reader. I found 7,823 blog posts, 2,388 online news articles, 5,223 forum postings and 301,551 tweets about it.

While this may not seem like a whole lot of reaction, it actually is compared to the amount of talk about Google Reader that was happening previously. When I looked at the mentions for Google Reader over the past seven days I found that there was virtually no talk of the RSS reader previous to yesterday’s announcement. But when the news hit, everyone started talking about it.

When I say everyone started talking about it, I mean it. A look at our geo-location heat map of where tweets were coming from about Google Reader shows that people all around the world had something to say about the sad news.

What were all of these people talking about? Well, many of them were talking about the news in general. Looking at our buzzgraph we can see words like “RSS” “feeds” and “shutting” down. Google said it was due to “declining” usage, but from the outcry we’ve seen it seems like a lot of people still rely on the service. Of course, when the news broke people also right away started to discuss “alternative” or “alternate” ways for people to read their RSS feeds.

A look at some of the popular phrases being used also shows that a lot of the talk is focused around the reporting of Google Reader being shut down. People are trying to get the word out (some thinking that this will hopefully lead Google to save it).

A look at the most RT’d tweets around the Google Reader news show the concern of people. Here I found people retweeting the news, talk about what to use instead, concern about current apps that rely on Google Reader, a petition to try and save it and of course people making jokes about the situation.

What do you think about the news? Are you upset about it as well?

We also want to know what you plan on using instead of Google Reader once it shuts down. Let us know in the comments.

What’s More Important: Twitter Followers or RSS Subscribers?

As an enthusiastic blogger, it was nearly impossible not to check out a link on Twitter with the tempting title – 10 Ways To Dramatically Increase Your RSS Feed Subscribers.

After all, what blogger doesn’t want more RSS subscribers given the more subscribers you, the more popular and well-read your blog.

But then it struck me about whether RSS still has the same kind of appeal and importance as it once had. For many bloggers, Twitter has become an important way to promote and distribute their posts.

While people are following you on Twitter as opposed to your blog content, it is nevertheless a way to capture the attention of a large audience.

The difference between RSS and Twitter is that RSS requires a bigger commitment – someone actually decides that a blog is so interesting or informative, they want to read it so often it makes sense to subscribe.

On the other hand, following someone on Twitter can be a snap decision. It far less of a commitment because it involves seeing someone’s mini-posts, which come as fast as they go.

For bloggers, however, the upside to Twitter is it can be easier to capture someone’s attention. Once someone starts following you, it opens the door to them getting interested in your blog posts.

It is sort of like Twitter is the loss-leader at the grocery store (the items that are so well priced and so prominently displayed they are almost irresistible) that consumer buy them before stumbling upon the premium products (aka the blog) in the same section.

Twitter’s potential as a marketing tool for a blog explains why so many bloggers are so enthusiastic about being on Twitter. Sure, it lets them be part of the conversation and access real-time information but it’s also a great marketing tool.

It is not like Twitter is going to replace RSS because they are different tools with different features but there is no doubt that Twitter has joined RSS as a solid one-two punch for any blogger looking for wider distribution.

Is RSS Becoming Irrelevant?

In doing some research on Canadian blogs recently, one of the most striking things was how many of them don’t have RSS feeds given how RSS is supposed to be a blog staple.

This suggests that Canadian bloggers are blissfully ignorant about RSS, they don’t care about RSS, RSS isn’t as important as it used to be, or there’s a belief that encouraging people to consume content through an RSS reader is less attractive than making them read their blog.

Whatever the reason, there may be some credence to RSS’s losing its social media mojo.

Do you remember when FeedBurner was all the rage? Then, it was acquired by Google. And since then, Feedburner has pretty much disappeared.

Part of FeedBurner’s low profile has to do with the fact that it has followed the path of many companies that disappear once they have been gobbled up by the Google Empire. But perhaps another reason is how RSS has been supplanted by other distribution services.

For example, a growing number of people now get their daily blog fix via services such as Twitter, Facebook, Tweetmeme or Feedera. Many of these people used to be hard-core RSS readers using tools such as Google Reader and Bloglines.

This is not to suggest the value and usefulness of RSS as a distribution tool is diminishing; it’s more that the consumption of blog content has expanded beyond RSS to the point where RSS isn’t as important or necessary.