Just How Dead is YOUR RSS Feed?

There has been another incarnation of the “RSS is dead” meme in the past weeks, with posts at TechCrunch and GigaOM debating the point. The conclusion of these posts seems to be that RSS is continuing its gradual evolution from being perceived as an end-user tool to being viewed as plumbing. And this is probably a good thing.
While I still consume most of my “blog-like” news and commentary via an aggregator, I rely more on recommendations through my social networks for learning what’s new. Perhaps that’s because I’ve become lazy about actively following lots of sources, and prefer the crowd to do the filtering for me. Perhaps its because the blogs and news sources I follow are less frequently updated (I know this blog falls in that category). Whatever the reason, I know my consumption patterns have changed. And I’ll wager that most people feel too busy to sift through everything published in every publication they like, and prefer instead to find like-minded individuals who share things of interest. Again, much like I do.
Still, if you’re curious to learn how your feed is consumed (and don’t use Feedburner or the equivalent), take a look at RSS4Lib’s YourStats log file analysis program. If you upload your publication’s log files and tell it what your RSS feed URL is, it will show you where your RSS feed is consumed — providing a good guess at your RSS readership. You may find the numbers surprising (high or low).

4 thoughts on “Just How Dead is YOUR RSS Feed?”

  1. I find it interesting that RSS is once again a topic of discussion in library schools (OK, maybe only one). The Internet does odd things to technology and expectations; RSS went through the “wow, isn’t this neat” phase, passed on to the “I can’t live without it, it’s an essential part of my information-gathering daily life,” and then to “RSS? What’s that good for”. And now, 20 years later, it’s a format worth talking about again.

    So — who does read your RSS feed? You’ll probably be surprised (maybe even pleasantly) at how many people are subscribed.

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