I logged on to my Bloglines account over the weekend and was greeted with the message that Bloglines will shut down October 1st. According to news update from Ask.com, information is “gained through conversations, and consuming this information has become a social experience. As Steve Gillmor pointed out in TechCrunch last year, being locked in an RSS reader makes less and less sense to people as Twitter and Facebook dominate real-time information flow.”
Ask.com continues to state that Bloglines usage has dropped off considerably as RSS feeds have moved from the consumer side of things to more of the backbone/infrastructure resource for other social information products. While I completely agree with Ask.com that the rise of Twitter and Facebook have led to more or different methods of information sharing, I still need my RSS feeds. I have developed quite a list of blogs, news feeds, and Internet search queries that I monitor. I do pay attention and monitor Twitter and Facebook, and I have noticed that I grab a lot of real time news and information from them but I have not figured out how to gather topical information to me using something other than my Bloglines feed.
People have asked me where I have found my information and how do I stay on top of it all. The simple answer is that I have about 5-10 search strategies that I developed in my feed reader. These search strategies look throughout the Internet for information, news, blog posts, etc. Whatever it finds is then listed under that feed on my Bloglines and I scroll through it every day like others read the morning newspaper. I have been able to somewhat duplicate this information retrieval method using TweetDeck (a Twitter application) . It picks up good but different information from my Bloglines search strategies.
So what about Facebook? That is also an interesting method for learning about new information, but it only picks up things that my friends like or post on their walls. “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If information is out there and nobody Facebooks it or tweets it, will I hear it? I relied on my Bloglines feeds to hear it.
Have feed readers started the path to extinction and I am one of the few still hanging on to it? Are there other tools out there that I am unaware of that will actively retreive and report information without my friends tweeting or posting it on their wall? Are there add ons or widgets to these social tools that will find things that my friends don’t?
In the last year or two people have reported that the blog is dead that people are sharing information via Twitter and Facebook. So far I have clung to the idea that the blog isn’t dead, but it has evolved and is no longer the blog of old. The blog of old is dead, the new blog that is integrated into a website, posts to Facebook and Twitter, is still around and important. It doesn’t take more than 140 characters to share or forward information, but people do communicate in more than 140 characters. However, the closing of Bloglines is definitely a sign of how things have changed.
I have no idea how Facebook, Twitter, and things yet to be created will shape how we find and share information in the future. One thing I know is that if you still have a blog (personal or professional) and you haven’t integrated it with Facebook and Twitter you better, and if you have a bunch of feeds on Bloglines and still rely upon them you need to move them before October 1st. Perhaps moving my feeds to Google is a little akin to arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and feed readers will disappear. Who knows? But I am definitely going to be looking at other methods to find information that isn’t always tweeted or posted on a wall.