Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Rise of News Feeds and the Stagnant RSS feed

Posted by Amanda Walsh

I have blogged before about how much I love my Web site aggregator, Bloglines, which helps to organize all of my RSS feed subscriptions to various blogs and websites. Bloglines is great because every time one of them is updated, it neatly organizes the updates for me to check when I have a free moment.

Steve Rubel, active blogger and marketing strategist, and VP-director of insights at Edelman Digital weighs in on what he thinks is the reason for the rise in news feed popularity while RSS feeds remain stagnant. Steve points out some interesting differences between the two on Advertising Age's Web site in, "Why News Feed is Growing While RSS Has Stalled: Peers"

What is RSS?
RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a delivery device that is used by Internet publications including blogs. When a RSS-enabled Web site adds new content, the updated information immediately goes from RSS feed to your designated RSS aggregator. My RSS aggregator of choice is Bloglines but there are many others to choose from on the Internet, like Google Reader and NewsGator.

Why Use It?
RSS is helpful because it saves you time surfing the Web and actively checking your favorite blogs and sites for updated content, and holds all of your content in one place. I would recommend a web-based aggregator like Bloglines because you have the ability to check for updates when you’re on-the-go, so long as you have access to the Internet. To learn more about RSS feeds visit, Bacons.

RSS and News Feed Trends
Steve sited a Forrester Research report published last month about RSS-feed adoption. In 2005 the survey found that 2% of consumers subscribed to a news feed. Now the percentage is up to 11%. Although this is a huge jump in subscribers, 40% of the remaining 89% of consumers are still uninterested in RSS Feed.

News Feed’s Recent Rise in Popularity
News feed is driven by user updates and has become much more popular thanks to the high volume of social networkers in the Web 2.0 age. Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter with their real-time updates on the home page, allow for instant posts by peers- an important difference between RSS and news feeds, since typically one's peers are their most trusted source of information.

Steve also sited a Cone Communications study which found that "34% of consumers want companies not only to have a presence in social media but to also actively engage. The news feed could become a venue in which to do that, though it won't be through ads. We will demand that actual employees engage us.”

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