One of my favorite things about writing a weekly roundup of the happenings in the social sphere is my weekly “wait..what!?” moments. This happens when something of interest pops up repeatedly in my feeds; something everyone seems to know about except me. A few weeks ago it was the possible demise of my favorite social media bookmarking tool (Delicious), and this week it’s the noticeable decline in the use of my other favorite tool: RSS feeds.
I use my Google Reader to sort through the blogs I subscribe to on a daily basis. My routine consists of going over emails, checking in on Facebook and Twitter, and going through my Google Reader. I keep tabs on everything from entertainment blogs like Gawker and Jezebel, to wedding planning blogs, health and fitness blogs, to PR and social media blogs to keep me up to speed on my industry (and, of course, feed this weekly column).
So imagine my surprise at the news reported in several places this week: RSS use is on the decline. I found it hard to fathom at first, considering that social media consumption has only gone up in recent years, but it appears that is the rub: more people gathering their content from Facebook and Twitter means less people relying on RSS. Luckily, we’ve got a couple of smart folks lined up this week to give us the skinny on what this means for bloggers, communicators, and everyone in between.
Reminder: Speaking of feeds…I would like to continue my calls for anyone to submit a good post or blog to add to my rotation here. I keep about 25 or so great blogs in my PR and social media folder, but am always willing to expand my horizons. Message me on Twitter (@sarahwurrey) if you’ve got a great new addition!
Blogging in the Post-RSS Era – Geoff Livingston – Is the decline in RSS usage necessarily a bad thing? Not for bloggers, according to Geoff. Now is the time to embrace high-quality content and get to know their community, to boost the word of mouth factor. And remember, quality may mean more than quantity in the post-RSS world. “Because RSS matters less, posting doesn’t depend on someone opening their reader every morning to find new content. Instead, content is disseminated by a community that either checks a blog periodically, or sees the post via referral online whenever they check in. That means the life span of a post as “new” can be as long as two days. Focus on your best ideas and invest in writing and editing them well to ensure maximum value.”
Is RSS Dead? – Aaron Strout – But why is RSS dying out? Aaron has some ideas, mainly that RSS readers don’t allow for good content curation—you have to dig through dozens or hundreds of new posts in your feeds in order to find the right content that appeals to you. “Why do I believe that RSS readers are going the way of the VHS tape? Mainly because they don’t really allow for good curation. And by that, I mean that unless I’m reading an RSS feed of blogs that someone I know and trust like David Armano or Robert Scoble have “read” and “liked,” than I’m forced to do a lot of hunting and pecking.”
Change Management – Shel Holtz – While I will always turn to Shel’s blog for social media expertise, I also continue to enjoy his posts on “regular” business issues. Mainly because even when they don’t appear to be, I find his business posts almost always apply to the social media world as well. This post on managing change within an organization reminds me of posts strategizing how to deal with reluctant clients or C-suite residents wary of diving into social media. “I’ve always been amused by the assuredness with which people throw out the old chestnut that “people resist change.” People do nothing of the sort. They change their hairstyles, their cars, their homes, their fashions, their jobs and all kinds of other aspects of their lives with frequency and glee. People love change. Suggesting otherwise is an easy out when companies run into employee resistance to change initiatives. When you’re developing a plan to communicate organizational change, you have to do your homework and figure out why people will resist it. You can be sure “I just don’t like change” isn’t one of the reasons.”
Hype vs Value – Valeria Maltoni – As Geoff pointed out earlier, creating high-quality content in blogging is going to be crucial to surviving a post-RSS world. But as Valeria rightly points out, content with a lot of value still needs a little something special to attract the buzz and generate the interest of your potential audience. “Real buzz is reader-generated and usually a win win because the content is also compelling the people it attracts. Content is your digital body language, and it’s your ticket to driving action. Seven ideas for generating compelling content are: 1) creating a feeling of involvement, 2) being honest, 3) providing value and proof of value, 4) establishing authority, 5) building on the desire to belong, 6) creating a sense of urgency, and 7) making the whole brain work.”