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news and thoughts on and around the development of the iCite net
by Jay Fienberg

Dr. Bloglove, or how I learned to stop using RSS and love the web

posted: Nov 25, 2003 9:00:39 PM

RSS changed the way I browsed the web. But, I have stopped using RSS feed readers and now go to the blogs of "connectors" and follow links from their blogrolls to other blogs, plus of course following their links to other sites on the web.

With blogs in particular, there is often only a single page to visit (the blog homepage) on which any new content appears. For many blogs, the total scope of the RSS feed matches the scope of the blog homepage.

So, scanning the headlines from a lot of sites is useful. But, mostly, I end up reading a lot of the stories / articles. And, as soon as I start having to filter things out because there are more than I can manage to read at any given time, it is a lot less useful to see a lot of headlines.

In any given day, if there are ten sites I am going to read regardless of their headlines, between those ten sites and the sites they link to, that is a pretty full load of reading.

So, these days, I just go into my browser location bar, type the first few letters of one my "top ten" site URLs, hit enter, and read up. Throughout the day, I will get to most or all of these ten sites—often starting at one, and using its blogroll to link to others.

I think the most important thing about this technique is that I am reading a wider variety of sites now than I was with RSS. With RSS, at a certain point, I was basically slaving away at reading all of the sites I was already subscribed to. Without it, I try out new names on blogrolls more often.

I am a big fan of RSS, and I am glad to have it around. I use my feed reader occasionally, and am always glad that it is there. I also think that RSS has in it some ideas that new and interesting things can evolve from.

But, I also think that reading via RSS, when you get too many channels, ends up a lot like reading too much email. I think there is yet an innovation that must occur with information arrangement, i.e., how you hold on to the information that you might want to look at or might want to work with, whether from RSS or web pages.

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trackback from: the iCite net development blog
posted: Jan 23, 2004 8:31:40 PM
title: Why do you read sites via RSS?

I have been RSS feed reader free for almost two months now and have been reflecting on what I am missing since kicking the habit.

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