RSS Readers Not Dead Yet

ReadWriteWeb says, “5 Reasons Why RSS Readers Still Rock.” To summarize the post, here are the five reasons RSS readers are still relevant, according to RWW:

  1. Control over Information Flow
  2. Evolving User Interfaces
  3. Tracking Twitter
  4. Mobile News
  5. Categorized News

This post is in response to an earlier RWW post, “RSS Reader Market in Disarray, Continues to Decline,” which engendered a lively discussion in the comments.
Dave Winer, a pioneer of RSS, noted in the comments to the more recent post that RSS readers get one thing fundamentally wrong: they treat feeds like email by telling you how many unread messages you have and encouraging you to read each one. (I’m one of those weirdos who cannot stand having messages, especially unread ones, hanging around in my inbox. Having a growing tally of unread RSS items pushes me right over the edge and is the main reason I stopped consuming my feeds in my mail application.)
A number of automated tools offer filters for RSS feeds (many have been reviewed or discussed here). Most of them rely on explicit, user-defined keywords. Others, like Twitter, rely on one’s peers to identify the interesting stuff. However, I have yet to find a tool that offers the best of keyword filtering (letting through articles on topics that are of likely interest) while still surprising and delighting me with nearly, but not quite, on-topic posts. That’s an incredibly delicate, arbitrary, and undefinable balance to strike.