Do You Still Subscribe via RSS and Use an RSS Reader?


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Around three years ago getting RSS subscribers was one of the main goals for any content-based website, blogs included. The reason? Most web visitors (most tech savvy ones at least) would use RSS readers to keep updated with the latest news and to decide what websites they would visit.

Over time, however, some people stopped using RSS readers and subscribing to sites via RSS, to the point that news outlets proclaimed the death of RSS.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying that RSS is dead or dying, because I think a lot of people still use it, and even if RSS readers are not that popular anymore RSS can be used for many other cool things.

That being said, I do agree that fewer and fewer people are using RSS readers, and RSS is losing some of its important for content-based sites. I wanted to get some numbers to back this up, though, so I decided to run a poll.

The question is: Do you still subscribe to sites via RSS and use an RSS reader to keep updated with your favorite sites and news sources? Cast your vote and leave a comment if you want to expand your thoughts.

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57 Responses to “Do You Still Subscribe via RSS and Use an RSS Reader?”

  • sokun

    Interesting article, i still subscribe via rss. I think it is a bit outdated though and facebook and things like that are more interesting but great post anyway.

  • Shlomo

    I never heard that RSS was going out of style. Personally, I love it for easily keeping track of the blogs that I follow.

  • Rohan Mehta

    So, then what else do people use? Bookmarks or twitter?

  • Harrison Li

    I never use a RSS reader, I like to read directly from the site instead 😀

  • herman dailybits

    RSS is indeed still valuable and I track multiple blogs using the rrs-feedreader in my outlook.

    Perfect to have a quick look during my working day or read them when I’m offline working.

  • rakesh

    I voted over the poll and according to the poll most of the user still use RSS to get in touch with their favorite blogs. It’s not dying anyhow.

  • Ricardo Nuñez

    This blog is probably read by more advanced users. Right now the stats are showing that. 92% using rss. I use it and I don’t think email is as good. I also receive some emails, but I prefer rss.

  • ruz

    “Over time, however, some people stopped using RSS readers and subscribing to sites via RSS, to the point that news outlets proclaimed the death of RSS.”

    Who says? How many are they? WHY did they stop? They got fed up with blogs they followed?

    This doesn’t make sense.

  • techkhan

    I don’t think there’s anything better than RSS to follow a blog or a website.

  • Healme Omare

    I just think RSS and RSS readers are here to stay for many years to come unless something new is invented to replace them..

    My Google Desktop RSS reader has been sitting on my desktop for as a long as I can remember. What other technology that can show you updates from all blogs that I subscribe to with just a glance to the side of the screen? Let me know if I miss some new aps here.

    I am way too happy using it for now 🙂

  • Jon

    Like Jamie above, I have upwards of a hundred feeds that I follow. Mine are categorised and prioritised in various ways through Google Reader, so that I can find important sources more easily. (From “Must Must Read”, down to “Read if there’s time”, and an overlapping cross-section of subject-specific groupings, tracked searches and the like.)

    I just wish there were some way for a ‘smarter’ newsreader to recognise when a post is essentially someone saying “look at this (great) content that you’ve seen elsewhere”, and hide it.

  • Amy Schmittauer

    I LOVE RSS! I wouldn’t be able to keep up with all the news I want in as organized of fashion if I didn’t have my Google Reader. I only subscribe to people by e-mail if they are absolute top priority reads. But I want WAY more information than that. If I didn’t have RSS, I would be able to suffice with Twitter, but RSS has to be one of the reasons why I am so productive on a daily basis. It truly is.

  • Peter Richards

    I use RSS feeds still but only via my Firefox browser. I find that the way Firefox handles the feeds by allowing them to be accessed from the visible toolbar most convenient.

    Chrome & IE handle your feeds more like you would bookmarks or your browsing history. Being able to review feeds for new posts with a single click keeps me very happy with RSS.

  • Rachel

    Like may people have already mentioned, my Google RSS Reader is always open in a web browser.

    I don’t want to receive an email every time each of the blogs I subscribe to, puts up a new post as I can’t drop what I’m doing to read it right away. Using an RSS reader allows me to read all the new posts in one central location, when it is most convenient for me.

  • Antone Roundy

    J.J. hit it on the nose — feed readers are much better specialized for handling things like blog subscriptions than email readers.

    With email, the assumption is that once you’ve read an email, you’ll decide what to do with it — leave it in your in box, file it, or delete it.

    With a feed reader, the assumption is that once you’ve seen an item, unless you flag it, you don’t want to see it again. You don’t have to click “delete” to get rid of it — just move on to the next item, and it’s gone.

    That may sound like a small difference, but if, like Jamie, you’re subscribed to anything in the neighborhood of 100 feeds, or if any of the feeds you subscribe to are very active, then it adds up to a LOT of extra clicks, and the process becomes very cumbersome.

  • Irfan

    OMG so many response you got here 😛 .. I usually never subscribe for RSS feed instead i search for its FB page to get in touch with those sites.

  • jawad sajwani

    I wonder how can someone follow all the information and tons of websites he or she likes. And as “The Dame” said, “Is there any other way to keep up with a number of blogs!?”

    So give me another way to do so and then you can say RSS is dying.

    take care

  • Tony J. Alicea

    I read this post via RSS so…

  • Jamie Northrup

    I use it now more than ever, and as the pool shows above, I’m pretty sure most bloggers use it, I would say the average person doesn’t even know what it means, but pretty much all bloggers do, it’s a smart way to keep track of many things, and a great place to find ideas, and find networking opportunities.

    Like Antone it’s one of the tabs I always have open. I’m currently subscribed to almost 100 feeds, including my blogging buddies, hockey news, blackberry info, new tv show episodes, ebay items and more, it’s quick and easy to stay informed… information is power, apparently lol

  • J.J. Lancer

    Like Antone, my Google RSS Reader is one of my permanently pinned tabs in my browser. I’m currently subscribed to dozens of blogs and I check on my reader multiple times throughout the day.

    I find that it’s much more convenient than signing up for email newsletters. The convenience comes from the fact that RSS readers are more organized and specialized than simple emails, I think.

  • Jeremy Myers

    I agree with Doug. There is no better way to keep track of all the blogs I read.

    I think the News sites that were reporting this were noticing a drop in THEIR readers using RSS feeds to read the news.

    And that, I think, is true. I don’t get my news through an RSS feed. Mainly because they post about 100 items a day, which gets very tiresome.

    But using an RSS feed is the best way to track blogs.

  • Karen Lewis

    I suppose the fact that I have 254 Google Reader subscriptions speaks for itself. 🙂

    There is no other way I am aware of that I can keep track of my favourite blogs and websites updates. Thankfully, they don’t all post at once.

    So I’m sticking to RSS feeds and reader for the forseeable future, at least.

  • The Dame

    ps: I use my reader to track blogs, share information on my facebook fan page and tumblr, and bookmark links to share on my main website. My Google reader is always open in my browser, it lives at the first tab.

  • The Dame

    Is there any other way to keep up with a number of blogs!? I subscribe to many blogs and I couldnt do it without Google Reader!

  • Brandon Freund

    Looks like the pro-RSS side is winning by quite a bit. I for one couldn’t live without my RSS reader both on my computer and my phone. It gives me a chance to quickly catch up with all the sites I subscribe to. It’s less intrusive than e-mail and doesn’t clutter up my inbox. I like to keep that free for more important communications.

  • Antone Roundy

    My feed reader is one of 3 tabs that’s always open in my browser, and it’s where a large portion of my daily work is done.

    I use my feed reader to:

    * track the blogs I read
    * watch news, Twitter, and blog searches
    * track my Twitter stream (I had to create a List and put the people I follow into it in order to get a feed that didn’t require OAuth authentication — Twitter used to support Basic authentication, but I guess they like to make things hard for people!)
    * track items in my support forum and helpdesk
    * curate content, blog, blog riff, tweet (if my feed reader couldn’t do these, I’d be a lot less central to my work, but still important)

  • Million Mile Secrets

    I still use RSS because it is very convenient to be able to read all the blogs which I follow in one place.

  • Ted Kolovos

    I only use an iPhone RSS reader for my favorite top 6 or 7 blogs.

    I think subscribing to blog updates via e-mail will always be more popular. The world wants simplicity and e-mail is simple. Plus it is an existing channel that people are extremely familiar with.

  • Amy Oline

    I read far too many blogs to be able to keep up without an RSS reader. Unless there’s some other way that I, like Doug, am unaware of.

  • doug_eike

    Perhaps I’m showing my ignorance here, but until I learn of a better way to know automatically when new subject matter is posted on a blog or website, I will continue to use my RSS reader.

Comments are closed.