Yesterday's announcement to shut down Google Reader in July sparked protests on the Internet, but why?
Since 2009 the industry has predicted the demise of RSS, and everyone's banking on social reading. While there are other feed aggregators, it's clear that RSS like dial-up is headed into obscurity. Internet users should not be asking "how do we save this?" , but instead, "what's next?"
In yesterday's New Yorker, Joshua Rothman waxed poetic about lost knowledge and noble pursuits with the decline of Reader, but pointed out how feeds can overwhelm users. Reader's value was organizing web content, not having an endless stream of articles reminding you that your commitment to home gardening is not what you thought it was.
Content curation is unquestionably the next big thing, and personal collection, organization and publication is driving this movement.
RSS feeds deliver "push" content - a passive experience wherein subscribed or relevant content is automatically delivered. However, "pull" content is what the user has gathered. It's collected, organized, and presented for utility or perspective - personal curation is personal power.
Some Reader users will opt for other news feeders such as NetVibes, NewsBlur, and Feedly. Others may kick it old school and use browser bookmarks. But others are going to look outside the box for what's next.
Jenna Gavin, CEO of Surfdash.com, states, "Our online lives are becoming more complex. Information we access on a regular basis email accounts, banking, social media, health providers, local services, and news - is overwhelming, and the industry is rethinking content access and organization."
There are curation tools available for professional marketers, bloggers, or high octane "sharers": put together pictures to tell a story and you have Pinterest, or publish your ideas with content on GetPocket. These collect-and-publish tools serve the marketplace, and those with personal curation tools, such as Surfdash.com, belong to the other 80% of us who don't broadcast what we had for breakfast.
RSS feeds will still be there, reminding us that we are not as well read as we'd like to be, but with tools that let us collect, organize, and share our web in a meaningful way, why do you care?