Twitter is not a viable replacement for RSS

Posted on 05/01/2013 in misc

Contrary to what this writer thinks, Twitter is not a replacement for RSS. The whole idea of RSS is to not miss stuff. If a writer you like publishes online once every 3 months, that article will be there in your RSS reader, almost impossible to miss.

Imagine the odds of seeing the Tweet announcing that once every 90 days post. It's 90% likely you'll miss it.

Twitter was founded as a social network. The whole idea originally was share what you are doing right now. Twitter originally was most famous for pictures of what you were having for lunch. The use case has shifted over time, and a lot of people use it for content discovery. It's not a horrible tool for discovery because the really interesting stuff often gets re-tweeted enough that you can't miss it. However, the lifespan of content on Twitter is measured in days, if not hours. If you are following a few hundred people on Twitter good luck finding that thing you saw last week, if you didn't favorite it or otherwise save it outside of Twitter when you originally saw it. Twitter is mostly noise, and little signal.

RSS is critical infrastructure for the web. Google may have ultimately done us a favor by canceling Reader. It reminded us that RSS is important, and that maybe we had been taking it for granted.

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I like hearing from readers, all three of you! Nobody comments on blogs anymore, and I'd rather not use Facebook or Twitter as a comment system so it's back to the email.