hen Bloglines, a popular web based RSS reader that launched in 2003, announced it was shutting down on October 1, discussion ensued that RSS was no longer a consumer experience, just a means to an end. The point being that RSS readers were not as popular with news and info being shared on Twitter, Facebook, and on apps like Flipboard that turned RSS feeds into a shiny newspaper like display.
Turns out the use of a RSS reader to the get the news and information you want from whom want it and on what subjects you want to follow remains as popular as ever.
Here’s a graph of Google Reader (web based RSS reader) users over time (where “user” is defined as someone who has used Reader at least once a week) from Mihai Parparita of the Google Reader team.
And the amount of items Google Reader users consume is also increasing. Here’s another graph from Parparita, this time of the number of items read per day.
I use Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin, all of which offer the sharing of info, Twitter much more than the others, but I could not live without my RSS feeds. Following them on a RSS reader is part of my daily routine. I stay up to speed as part of my professional development and share what I think of interest on Twitter as part of maintaining my reputation as a reliable and trusted authority.
I follow 500 to 600 feeds, a combination of sources (blogs, news sites) and subjects (keywords and key phrases subscribed to at Google News and Google Blog Search). My feeds are organized into folders, with the folders of the items I follow the closest at the top. I can easily browse my headlines, opening those items that look of interest.
It’s no different than if someone asked if you read the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. You don’t read each article cover to cover each day, you browse and read items of interest.
Historically I’ve used NetNewswire, a desktop application on my laptop, as my RSS reader. Google Reader didn’t exist when I started using a reader in 2003. I’ve now switched over to my iPad for reading my feeds. There I use an app called, Reeder, which syncs with my feeds I store at Google Reader.
If you’re looking to a try a RSS Reader for reading news, I suggest Google Reader. All you need is a Google account (you already have one if you use Gmail) — and here’s a video to help you get started.
Don’t look at Google Reader as being for geeks only. My client services team at LexBlog tells me the majority of our thousands of blog authors, mostly lawyers over age 45, love using a RSS reader. Why? Because they’re too busy to consume news by browsing. And because a RSS reader gets them timely news and info they would have otherwise missed.
If you’re a LexBlog author and are not using an RSS reader, but would like to learn how, give our client services team a call. We’ll even provide you with a file of the leading sources and subjects in your of practice and locale to drop into your Google Reader.