IN A WORLD where Twitter, broadcast networks and brands want to force eyeballs into their own spaces, I value my ability to cull content through Really Simple Syndication (RSS) newsfeeds.
I read a lot of the world around me via RSS feeds. Seven years ago, I pulled RSS feeds from Irish blogs onto my mobile phone. Reading the titles of blog posts from dozens of blogs was like viewing a river of tweets today. I liked the convenience and efficiency of having a mobile flow of information. It was powered by RSS.
You have to look hard to find RSS on Twitter accounts nowadays. The RSS option is no longer displayed for individual accounts or for favorites, one of the most useful aggregates of information in my opinion. Removing easy RSS from Twitter is part of an overall strategy of driving eyeballs onto the main Twitter site and it folds into the Big Television Network strategy that will monetise Twitter in the years ahead.
If Twitter is successful in exerting more control over its network of users, it can assert total control on the stream of information through its network. If Twitter truly controls the stream, it changes the concept of discovery. And as network executives know, changing discovery in broadcasting means you command the largest rate card.
I don't hold up much hope for advocates to espouse RSS as an essential attribute when it comes to judging "best website" or awarding government money for contracts involving websites or information technology. But I cannot imagine a morning coffee routine that does not involve careful reading of fast-breaking information that flows onto my touchscreens as a result of simple and resilient RSS.
I have reduced my time on Twitter because I pull tweets from key voices into Wonder Reader on my Nokia Lumia. They land in categories harvested by Google Reader on my desktop (Wonder Reader on my phone). Feedly on iOS gives the same functionality. By the end of the decade, I'm sure some other bright and shiny platform will subsume Twitter and perhaps even topple Facebook as the main watering hole for connected generations. I hope that when those seismic shifts happen, RSS will continue percolating away in the background, serving information as elegantly as ever before. For the record, here's my RSS feed.
Matthew Ingram -- "Two moves that tell you everything you need to know about Twitter's future" on GigaOm, August 23, 2012.
Bernie Goldbach curates links about information aggregation.