My feed reader and I have been pals since 2006. Believe it or not I use MyYahoo and not iGoogle! There’s a plethora of other types of feed readers like Outlook, but most of the people I know use one of the two above. Our relationship began to grow exponentially after I deployed my first feeds. As a matter of fact, I loved my feed reader and couldn’t have lived without it. It was great because my favorite blogs and newspapers were delivered to me on one page and I could glance at the day’s headlines to decide what I wanted to read without having to open up dozens of websites.
The Realization of the Pending Death
About a year ago I began to notice my use of the feed reader was becoming less and less. As I started to spend more time on Twitter the time I spent on MyYahoo drastically declined. Now-a-days, I find myself opening up my reader three or four times per week. Prior to Twitter I looked at my feed reader at least 10 times a day. Why has my behavior changed so much since I became active on Twitter?
Why Feed Readers are Dying
After thinking about it for a while the light bulb flickered on and I realized that even though the RSS feeds I have going into MyYahoo are from trusted sources I still wasn’t interested in all of their content. In addition, I selected what I wanted to read based on the post’s title and description only. I also noticed that the blogs I read today aren’t the same blogs that are on my feed reader. Prior to Twitter 99% of the blogs I read were off of my feed reader. Today, less than 20% of the blogs I read are on my reader.
The Twitter Takeover
Twitter is slowly replacing my feed reader. Why is Twitter better than a feed reader? Twitter acts as a filter for bad or uninteresting content. The best of the day’s blog posts are scrutinized by my friends and followers on Twitter and retweeted religiously by people throughout the day. Those articles that are worth reading are typically retweeted the most. By retweeting, my Twitter friends are vouching for the content. Besides, without Twitter I wouldn’t have been introduced to many of the new blogs I read today.
The Effect on Inbound Marketing
What does this mean for inbound marketers? Inbound marketers shouldn’t expect their RSS subscribers to grow at the same rate they’re used to. Although they will probably continue to grow for several more years, the rate of growth will begin to decline until it eventually flat lines. Inbound marketers will be forced to rely on large homegrown Twitter and Facebook networks for their content distribution and syndication. Better start growing your Twitter and Facebook fan base before it’s too late. . !
While I tend to agree – I also think there are risks. I have always used the web to discover new and novel approaches – and often the greatest insight has come from outside my field of vision. That’s what RSS readers give me – better peripheral vision. Without it, I fear echoing the echo chamber.