Google is well known for starting up experimental services (Buzz, anyone?) and shutting them down. After watching this cycle several times, you’d think the surprise would wear off, but I was genuinely shocked and disappointed when they finally pulled the plug on Google Reader earlier this summer.
I’ve heard numerous people comment that RSS is dead, that nobody subscribes to blogs any more, that we all rely on our social media networks to filter the world for us. I suspect that’s true for many consumers, happy to let Facebook’s Edgerank decide what they see and don’t see, happy to just go read whatever news George Takei or Wil Wheaton thinks is worth following up on (there are worse people to listen to, I’ll confess). It’s not a bad model, but the information ecosystem that makes that model possible relies on a lot of work behind the scenes, individuals keeping up with trusted news sources and bubbling that information back into their networks so that the important news reaches those who are content to only consume what their friends produce.
So, when Google Reader died, I imported all my data into Feedly. I’m not sold 100% on the product, but it was the best option at the time.
One thing I noticed as I studied my subscriptions was that my focus has shifted over the years. While most of my subscriptions used to be fellow EMC employees or social media pioneers, I’ve since added many more blogs relating to my hobbies, as well as overall news sources. The question is, am I still deriving professional value from my RSS feeds? If so, what value is it?
So, you get to witness an experiment. I’ve been wanting to get the text flowing again on this blog, so I’ll jump-start it by writing a series of short posts, really just links with minor commentary. The links will relate to my professional interests and will be discovered from my RSS feeds. We’ll see how it goes, and what impact this has on my information consumption.