Do You Actually Use an RSS Reader?


Last week, I gave seven advanced tips on reading RSS feeds. The post got some nice comments and fueled further discussion, and fellow WorkAwesome contributor Georgiana Cohen followed up with some Google Reader tips.

While I personally love my RSS reader, there are no doubts about the fact that RSS usage has seen a decline since it was invented. The main reason behind that: the birth of a variety of content aggregators and social media tools in the last 2-3 years.

I’ve found more and more people moving towards things like Twitter lists, alerts and aggregators like Alltop for consuming content. The good ol’ feed reader may be not be that relevant anymore.

Do you still use a feed reader as the primary tool to consume content?   If not, what do you use?


Popular search terms for this article:

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Abhijeet Mukherjee is the editor of Guiding Tech, a blog that publishes in-depth articles and tutorials on all things tech, including mobile news and tutorials. He's been into web working since 2008 and continues to enjoy each day of it. He loves to interact with people so hit him up on Twitter.

Discussion

  1. Eric Granata on the 2nd July

    Heck yes I do! Google Reader is what I use on the desktop. On my iPod I use an app that is synced to my Google account called Byline. It is probably my most used app! I have seen some promising apps for the iPad that also sync to Google Reader, but I am holding out for Double Shot.

  2. crazyideafactory on the 2nd July

    I use Google reader when I want to scan allot of content from known sources. I find it less cluttered and easier to read than many standard web pages.
    I use twitter, alltop and good old Google searches to find new content.

  3. Haakon on the 2nd July

    I use google reader. Just started using it this week. I’m loving it..

  4. Justin on the 2nd July

    I use Safari or Firefox to aggregate the feeds I want. Advantage to Safari (a little Wimbeldon spirit there) for telling me how many new, unread posts there are in groups on my Links toolbar, but Firefox is good about showing unread ones with generic icons and sticking out from the rest you’ve read.

  5. Paul W. on the 2nd July

    I just learned about RSS Feeds two years ago. I love them now! Of course I don’t get all of my information from them, but it is still convenient to have articles from my favorite websites (including work awesome) delivered to me and saving the time I would have spent browsing for them.

    • Paul W. on the 2nd July

      Forgot to mention that I use Opera’s built-in feed reader.

  6. vlad on the 2nd July

    I catch up on my feeds with Google Reader in the morning and every time I finish a task for work or school as a reward mechanism. This can be around 6 7 times per day.
    I also use twitter, but as a feed in Reader so… all my junk is in the same familiar one-click-go-to content organizer.

  7. Joshua on the 2nd July

    Google Reader FTW. I have so many feeds I find that I am rushing through them so I don’t fall behind. If I don’t go to Reader in one day I will have at least 1000 items to read. Still trying to find a better way.

  8. Kitty Florido on the 2nd July

    I used to use Net News Wire, but with Twitter being such a big source of most of my news, I got back to use Safari’s RSS reader function for a few select feeds. Other than that, Yahoo news.

  9. I still use Google Reader. I think nothing beats it.

    Nabeel

  10. Brad on the 2nd July

    I’ve been using Google Reader for a few years now. I read a lot of blogs and GR is the only I have found that keeps all my feeds organized and easy-to-read.

  11. Jesse on the 2nd July

    I could not live without my Google Reader – Twitter is fun but no substitute. I just wish Google devised a way to reduce the number of duplicative stories that show up in your feeds

  12. Joseph on the 2nd July

    I use Google Reader to pull in about 700 articles a day (on average) from about 60 feeds. I use a desktop app on my Mac called NetNewsWire and sync with the previously-mentioned Byline on my iPod. The Reader web interface is also great for when I am away from my main computer but want to keep up-to-date on the tech news. Also, I’m 14.

  13. Lauren on the 2nd July

    I only use Google Reader – I would think that the other methods may be more of a fad, but I could be wrong. Google Reader centralizes everything for me and takes stress out of getting content from multiple methods.

    I love it!

  14. Andrea Bravo Balado on the 2nd July

    Check out the poll I did among my Twitter followers about the same subject:

    http://andreabravo.me/blog/?p=154 [Spanish and English]

    • John on the 22nd May

      This sort of biases the audience, don’t you think?

  15. Jose Huitron on the 2nd July

    My reader is a big tool for keeping up on breaking news. A lot of what I tweet comes straight from my reader making it easy to keep the content stream flowing.

  16. Derek Brown on the 2nd July

    I just switched from Google Reader to a self-hosted solution by Shaun Inman, the creator of Mint (analytics). It’s called Fever (http://feedafever.com), and I absolutely love it so far. Great iPhone interface as well.

  17. Matt on the 2nd July

    I love my RSS and feel disconnected without it. I have it on all of my computers and my iPad and Nexus One so that I can read my feeds anywhere in the world.

  18. Samanta on the 2nd July

    I sync my Google reader account with NetNewsWire for the Mac and the iPod. I haven’t found a more efficient way to keep up with my reading… Services like Alltop aren’t a replacement for my feed reader; they are a different deal, more like a complement. Unlike my feeds, they don’t represent my main interests, they are what the Web is labeling as interesting. So my feed reader isn’t going anywhere for now (:

  19. Jamie Brightmore on the 2nd July

    My RSS use has slowed down alot in the past year, but the iPad seems to have changed that. I’m finding I read feeds far more now, usually when I run out of tweets to consume! The iPad is a perfect RSS device and I’ve found NewsRack suits me nicely.

  20. Jaffa Brown on the 2nd July

    One great way to catch up on RSS feeds – get an ebook (any kind – Kindel, Sony PRS505, etc) and then use free software Calibre – it allows you to set up your RSS feeds, then turns them all into an eBook – perfrect for readying in a bath, on the train, on a plane etc.

  21. Matthew Lang on the 2nd July

    I’ve been using Google Reader pretty much since it first came out. As a way of aggregating content and finding new sources, it’s pretty hard to beat.

    After years of use, I can run through my hundreds of subscriptions in no time, picking off that best content that catches my interest.

    I think RSS is still an important technology and will be for quite some time.

  22. J Munro on the 2nd July

    I use Feedly. I was introduced to it recently and I love it.

    It looks like a magazine, is easy to manage and an absolute pleasure to use. The fact I can organise them into category pages means the whole thing doesn’t get too cluttered; I can read it all on there, tweet or forward it on, save it for later etc.

    I started using it a month ago & am still completely enamoured by it (ps – I don’t even work for them!)

  23. Brett Yanoski on the 2nd July

    I’ve never actually attempted to try any readers. I didn’t use Twitter until recently and now I’m starting to really see the value of it. Being able to follow people that post relevant articles in quick snippets, I use TweetDeck on my desktop to give me updates all day while i’m at work and just glance at new articles here and there.

    I do think the new Digg site is going to make a big difference in how I look at content. I already love Digg for all the great articles it has but the new v4 is going to act a lot like twitter in which you can follow people on digg and have a “my news” that pulls info only from those that you follow. I really like that…then they still have the traditional view.

    Great stuff!

  24. Elena on the 2nd July

    I use FeedDemon, all subscriptions in one place, have them set on categories. It works for me…

  25. Tony on the 2nd July

    Twitter is my RSS Feed reader!

  26. Scott on the 2nd July

    I use the built in reader in Thunderbird (mail client).

    Makes it easier to keep track of feeds, and keeps them all nicely categorised.

  27. Kevin on the 2nd July

    I use Google Reader on Desktop but don’t actually read as many of the feeds I have in there as I used to. Instead, I find that I get much of the same info on Twitter.

    I don’t use any Newsreader on my iPhone but on iPad I use Pulse and truly love that.

    Social Networks like Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Reddit and Google Fast Flip have changed the way I consume “news” these days and thus lead me to not really use RSS much at all.

    Fluent News and Skygrid have also become great ways to read/discover “news” content on mobile devices such as iPhone/iPod or iPad.

    I also tend to use “Read It Later” for bookmarking articles or sites I want to get back to later and Instapaper when I find something I want to archive for reading in the future.

    iPad has changed my reading habits quite a bit and I’ve grown to love “Read It Later” and Instapaper for reading content when I want to in an eBook style format.

    Fluent News and Skgrid are great for content “discovery” but Twitter and other Social Networks tend to be more of primary sources for me.

    Pulse so far is my favorite News Reader on iPad and I want to try “Reeder” as well.

  28. Bjørn Torbo on the 2nd July

    I use Socialite on my Mac (I ditched NetNewsWire when EventBox (now Socialite) got aquired by RealMacSoftware). On my iPhone I use MobileRSS Pro. I can see the point in Twitter overlapping, but I still value reading RSS feeds in a dedicated reader. This may be subject to change, but not for a while yet.

  29. iLLeT on the 2nd July

    YES! I started using Google reader 2 years ago. I follow many blogs, and instead of just bookmarking them and visiting them individually, it is much faster with RSS. I can also organizes them. With RSS I now when a new article is up, so you don’t have to visit the site to see if there is something new.

    I use Google reader over going to each site indiviually because I can search all the sites I visit in one place, and get the results I want. If I was to use google search I get sites I haven’t heard of or search results I wasn’t looking for. There are many times when an old article is now relevant to me, so I search my RSS feeds to easily find it and re-read it. If I think an article is really useful to me I star it, and it makes it easier to search.

    Google reader > twitter
    If I was to follow the same blogs through twitter, it would just get messy with tweets, and thoughts attached to useful links. Google reader gives me what I want which is: title, content, link. I also can’t search for past articles on twitter. and sometimes the urls change.

  30. Nick Mersenski on the 2nd July

    i use google reader, and i love it. I was also using twitter lists as an additional way to keep up to he minute on everything, but it got to the point where there was just way too many posts to possibly follow everything. I guess i could have just weeded some of my lists, but i just weeded out twitter almost entirely. For the most part I only use twitter for people I actually know, and occasionally will check out what the rest of the twitterverse is up to.

  31. Nathan Nash on the 2nd July

    I currently use google reader, but I might start solely using new.digg.com, at least for the sites that submit content to digg, because of their my news feature.

  32. Enrique Ramírez on the 2nd July

    NetNewsWire has been nothing but faithful and trustworthy to me. :) I usually get nothing but useless stuff from my twitter (with the occasional exception) and other social media like Facebook looks to be drowning in spammy advertisements rather than relevant content.

    I still prefer the good ol’ RSS feed. Social media seems to be too unprofessional to me (it’s not that I feel it that way. It has PROVEN to be that way to me).

  33. Brian Altenhofel on the 2nd July

    I use Google Reader not just for the RSS feeds, but also because I can add a specific URL and get an update as soon as Google crawls it and finds a change.

  34. Hilary on the 2nd July

    Google Reader … they need to add it to Google Apps!

    I think the people who were going to use an RSS reader found about them long ago and the rest of the population would rather just visit websites.

    Also, one of the problems with RSS readers is this feeling that you have to get through it all when in fact, sometimes the best thing to do is read a few key blogs and “mark all as read” on the rest when you just don’t have time. Getting that RSS reader to “inbox zero” so to speak.

    RSS feeds can easily become a time waster if you don’t have a system for yourself. Things like facebook remove this backlogged reading problem because you are only presented with the most recent info.

  35. S. Emerson on the 2nd July

    Yes I read RSS feeds!

    The easiest way to keep up with different blogs IMHO.

    Not into online RSS feed readers. I use a piece of software on my computer.

  36. Design Informer on the 2nd July

    I’m still using Google Reader to this day and I don’t think that will be changing. Can’t wait to get my iPad and read even more through RSS.

  37. Cory Mathews on the 2nd July

    Yes Opera’s built in reader ftw! However I wouldn’t use it if I had to go use a separate program or website.

  38. Roland on the 2nd July

    Google Reader all the way! It saves me sooo much time.

    I think the problem is that ordinary people simply do not know or understand the productivity a reader provides. They do not know about Readers nor the benefits. Most people probably don’t even know what the orange RSS buttons on websites are for!

  39. Reg on the 2nd July

    I still use the iGoogle homepage, though find Twitter supplies most of the web related links I find myself reading.

  40. Patrick on the 2nd July

    I still use Google Reader along with my own set of scripted cmdline tools. While I agree that people are becoming more “tech savvy” as a whole social media alerts and content aggregation are a pop culture fad; there’s nothing life altering or innovative about them.

    Interested in this topic here’s what our algorithm has churned up. Their idea of “customizable” feeds is a misappropriation of terminology. To use the term loosely in this instance “customizable” is a bit authoritarian.

  41. Christopher Masiello on the 2nd July

    Abhijeet,
    I read A LOT. My Google Reader has over 200 RSS feeds. I group them together by topic (Productivity, Gadgets, Sports, Finance, etc.). This way I can quickly bang through 30 or so fresh articles on a given topic. For most articles I just scan the headlines and images, for others I read, star, and share them. The real good ones, I send to Evernote to use later. This is the quickest way to digest a ton of information, plus get a quick temperature check on your field.
    Chir

  42. Hector Lee on the 3rd July

    I use it primarily with Google Reader and Reeder on my iPod Touch. I cache my feeds on my iPod Touch and I can read it on the go. Its a daily affair.

  43. Yari on the 3rd July

    I definitely still use Google Reader, I love having a one-stop location where I can look through the blogs I enjoy reading. Definitely more convenient than getting daily emails from several blogs. I must admit, however, that sometimes I forget to check it and then end up with a ton of unread posts and it’s a little overwhelming. I’ve been trying to check daily these days.

  44. Gregor McKelvie on the 3rd July

    I used to use My Yahoo! then Netvibes and now Google Reader. I’ve been actively using RSS for years and has only increased. To me RSS is one of the best things about the internet.

    Spotify and social bookmarking are not bad too!

  45. Ebi Atawodi on the 3rd July

    Deleted them all…they became redundant with Twitter!

  46. CootieQueen on the 13th July

    I use Netvibes. I have it set up with categories. Saves time wading from website to website. Besides, there is so much information to keep track of that I’d forget lots of sites if they weren’t centralized w/ Netvibes. Google Reader and other RSS gatherers are okay, but I like to switch themes, etc., which is much more fun w/ Netvibes.

  47. Helen Williams on the 3rd November

    I definately still think there’s a place for RSS feeds as a lot of social networking content is spammy and RSS feeds seem much more professional. I use Google Reader too and it keeps everything more organised too which saves me a lot of time!

  48. jens on the 16th May

    What kind of web publishing system does not have created_at and updated_at dates on their articles? Yours! And its a shame. Especially on articles such as this.

  49. Michael Green on the 23rd May

    Yeah… I didnt like RSS feeds/aggregators at first because there were SO many RSS feeds out there & I didn’t want to search for them all. I use pulssr.com as my rss reader because I just subscribe to topics that I’m interested in & Pulssr pulls news from a whole bunch of sources, but only shows me stories that have to do with the topics that I choose. It’s pretty awesome, I’d definitely recommend it.

  50. Levi Smith on the 16th September

    I stopped using RSS feeds a good while back after I came up with a process that works well for me using twitter and Hootsuite. In short, I skim twitter lists that I prioritize left to right in Hootsuite. I also use searches to further refine what I’m looking for. You can use other twitter clients to accomplish something similar. I describe the setup here: http://bit.ly/oA4N6n

  51. Roshan on the 10th May

    I may be controversial here but I think that RSS feeds can be irrelevant to a lot of users, where as Social Networks can offer more informed content as there is more control over the content.

    Just my thought, but great article nonetheless. – thanks.

  52. PR Agency on the 7th June

    We use RSS feeds all the time, it is a medium that shouldn’t really be overlooked. Nice insight thought.

  53. bioadam on the 12th October

    I use RSS feeds and I use Google Reader to feed them. If there is any other RSS reader that syncs with all your devices and various other RSS readers, let me know.

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