RSS is Dead, Long Live RSS?

Matrice de services autour du RSS
Image by loic_hay via Flickr

I have to admit that my jury is still out on RSS.  I understand it, have taught classes about it and have used several different readers over the years.  So I found it interesting that @lrainie retweeted 2 blog articles about RSS today.

First one, The Top 5 Reasons RSS Readers Went Wrong, pointed out very good reasons that RSS exerpience just isn’t what it should be.  I completely agreed with #2 & #5 – “One of the things I like about shared links in Twitter & Facebook is that I can start or read a conversation about the story and otherwise give feedback (i.e. “like” or retweet) to the publisher of the news as part of the experience.” – “The process of adding feeds still takes too many steps. If I see your Twitter profile and think you’re worth following, I click the “follow” button and I’m done.”  I’m not thinking that Twitter is the answer for everything but they do make it easy to “subscribe” and share.

The second article, If You Think RSS is Dead Then That’s Your Loss and It’s a Big One,  of course takes the other side of things.  My feelings is that Marshall is entitled to his opinion as much as Dare and Sam are entitled to theirs.

My jury is still out.  I use Google Reader and have quite a few feeds but to be honest I barely read them anymore.  I pay attention to my Twitter stream and Friendfeed.  I follow people like @lrainie, @Mashable, @rww, and @Jeremiah Owyang that give me perspective on the social web and the Internet in general.  I follow people like @MLx, @baldgeekinmd, @msauers, @libraryman, @lorireed, @pollyalida and others that keep me up on my profession (Libraries & Training).  I follow people like @nengard, @ranginui, @wizzyrea, @Miromurr, @gmcharlt, @magnusenger, @nirak and more that keep me up on things going on in the Open Source community.

I don’t know if RSS is dead but for me the social web and looking to people I know and/or trust (compare to some news agency) is MY way of keeping on top of things.

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How I Got Into Blogging or Be Careful Who You Tag They May Just Tag You

Well I could blame Meredith Farkas for starting this meme or fuss at the (almost) BaldGeekinMD and Julie Strange for both tagging me. Actually I’m flattered that they both tagged me but feel maybe that Maurice is getting his revenge for the “Sisters of Irony” tag teaming him on a previous meme.

To be honest my first “dipping of my big toe in the pool” came when I participated in Maryland’s 23 Things program. I then went on to try blogging more of personal with my blog about our family vacation to the land of my husband’s birth – England. Then I tried to continue with a more personal blog about things going on in my life, Something More Than Long (taken from “My Corner of the Sky” from the Broadway musical Pippin). But I didn’t seem to keep up with it and that blog died in March of this year.

Maurice knows the answer to how my latest blog came about – peer pressure! It started during the Computers in Libraries 2008 conference. Prior to the conference, I had had the pleasure of taking an 8 week online course about online training and Maurice (and Julie too) were in the class. Finding my fellow trainer soul mate in Maurice (this man loves technology and good music as much as I do) we made plans to meet up at CIL 2008. While walking to lunch or chit-chatting between sessions Maurice had the pleasure of my outgoing personality and opinions of open source vs. proprietary software. He dubbed me “The Open Source Evangelist” but I had to tell him that title was already taken by none other than Nicole Engard of Liblime. He kept nudging me to blog.

Even after the conference when I ran into Maurice virtually he’d put in a plug for me to start blogging. But what finally got me to cave in was being tagged for another meme by Michael Sauers. It was an interesting meme – teaching the next generation about your passion (which for me was open source). The flood gates opened from there.

Although my blog isn’t always about open source, quite often it is. I try to stick to some topic that comes from my experience of working 25 years in libraryland. My current slant tends to be more technology based but I tend to include rants about fashion (Project Runway), politics, and music (help with FineTune playlist). For those that read this blog I hope I provide some insight, some fun, a bit of humor and an occasional question or two to make you think.

That’s the rest of the story…..now I want to know yours – Michael Sauers, Bobbi Newman, Joshua M. Neff, and Marianne Lenox.

FriendFeed – the new RSS aggregator?

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t learn something new. Not unlike Nicole Engard’s blog “What I Learned Today“, I could keep a list of neat, interesting, exciting, frustrating, a-ha moments. Yesterday was no exception to the rule.

I took part in the maiden voyage of T is for Training a podcast show hosted by Maurice Coleman (aka (almost) baldgeekinmd. The first topic of discussion was information overload. How, as trainers, do we deal with all the RSS feeds and information coming to us on a daily basis? I believe, forgive me if I credit the wrong person, Stephanie Zimmerman that mentioned she does what I do — let my friends aggregate for me via FriendFeed. She talked about StumbleRead which I had not heard of before but immediately started using. StumbleRead allows you to pop out a small frame that feeds you all the activity going on your FriendFeed.  So you can have FriendFeed going without taking up one of your tabs in your browser.  It allows you to see feeds/posts from your Friends or Everyone and you can share from within the application (powered by Google App Engine).  Ooh, just love hearing about a new product, software app, or web site I can play around with.

I’m not trying to be lazy. It’s just that I can subscribe to over 300 feeds (like some on the show) but I’d never get through them all. Or I can pay attention to what the library community is talking about on social networking sites like FriendFeed. Because FriendFeed not only allows you to post directly into it but also import information from 43 different sites (plus the ability to import RSS feeds from any site) – I can keep up to date on all kinds of information due to the diversity of my “friends”. If they don’t have an area of interest that I do than that is a feed I can subscribe to and hopefully post about so they can learn from me as well.

For me, FriendFeed keeps me up on politics (the discussions about Obama, McCain and Palin have been interesting), fashion (found several other Project Runway fans there), library news (everything from LibraryJournal to WebJunction to individual library’s feeds), and many other topics.  So who really needs an aggregator when you have your friends?

To Tweet or Not to Tweet That is the Question

Seems to be a lot of speculation about Twitter these days. The growing pains it has recently experienced has been frustrating to say the least. Several blog posts have pointed to an exodus to Friendfeed (LISs StevenK‘, LibLime’s Nicole Engard) due to frustrations felt at the recent ALA conference.

Many are jumping ships to other sites such as Plurk, Kwippy, Identi.ca, Pownce, etc. Friendfeed is also gaining some of the ex-Tweeters. I am signed up on all of them as mlibrarianus.

My main problem with leaving Twitter is my “friends” or followers. Some are on Plurk or one or two on Kwippy or several on Friendfeed but none of them are all in one place like Twitter. Sure I can send invites from these other sites to get my followers to jump ship but which one? I’ve yet to find one that I like better than Twitter at the moment.  Plus what I like about Twitter is all the different apps that have spawn out of it. Spaz, Twirl, Twitterfox, Twitwheel, TweetLater and my all time favorite Twitterfeed.  I know Friendfeed has several applications as well but I’m not hooked on Friendfeed like I am Twitter.

Friendfeed certainly does have some attractive features (being able to link to all your social networks and have display in one place).  I guess it’s the age old problem – lead, follow or get out of the way.

Lead – if you lead and have plenty of followers fine, your friends are there along side you.  However, if you lead to a place they don’t like you are left out in cyber space alone.

Follow – not always the best path to take but you are never alone.

Get out of the way – maybe the best approach to just sit back and let everyone fight it out?

Thinking that I’ll just let the dust settle a bit and then see what’s the next big thing.  Until then I’ll Tweet away while Plurking my Kwips all on Friendfeed.