I agree with Phil when he says RSS readers are a sterile environment, but I don’t share his general contempt towards them. In the past month, for the first time ever, I’ve used an RSS aggregator consistently, usually several times a day.
I’ve currently got 53 feeds that I follow more or less closely, but there’s only a handful I can really say that I need. And one thing that strikes me is that I’ve started reading a lot more blogs since I started using Bloglines. Previously I read about 10 or 15 regurarly and checked into memeorandum, reddit, digg, technorati et al. to keep up to date with the rest of the blogosphere.
Is that part of the problem with RSS readers―the fact that we’re being served excessive amounts of dispensible blog content? Or is this additional information a good thing, making the world of blogging less inbred?
Back to the subject of RSS reader sterility (we’re allowed to make up words in Web 2.0), I agree with Phil Sim – to an extent. The identity and flavor of each and every blog is pretty much lost in the average reader, and perhaps more importantly, as Phil points out himself, the comments are lost. The community and social interaction that really is the foundation of blogging in itself is given a lower priority and less attention through an RSS reader. At the same time, we’re able to read and process larger amounts of input at a faster pace than we would’ve been via regular browsing. But, hey, doesn’t that just add to the sentiment that RSS readers are sterile? Reading and processing large amounts of input at a fast pace doesn’t exactly entail vibrant communication, personal flavor etc. does it? It’s got ‘business’ written all over it (as well as stupid fucking Web 2.0 buzzwords that aren’t proper words).
A partial solution could be to implement an option to expand the comments of blog entries, making them viewable within the RSS reader itself. But as I said, it’s a partial solution, and it doesn’t really help the impersonal, neutral and business-like approach one takes through the use of and RSS reader.
Or does one do that? After all, it’s all about content―the written word―isn’t it?