And the answer is no!
RSS was quickly adopted by IT experts in 2005 – 2006, and power users. It was effective in allowed websites to push articles to people — and you had no need to visit a site and manually check for content updates. New desktop and web-based RSS aggregators appeared every week. Browser and email vendors quickly jumped on the new tecnology and implemented RSS features.
Despite of these advantages, few mainstream web users ever used a feed reader. And that’s not surprising:
• The terminology and jargon was far more complex than the technology it represented.
• Few people know what a browser is; what hope is there for a “feed reader” or “news aggregator”?
• Aggregators generally require an understanding of RSS URLs — again, a foreign subject for many people.
• Users understand web searches and page requests, but having content ‘pushed’ is a harder concept to grasp.
Many articles accuse the meteoric rise of social networks for the death of RSS. A Twitter stream or Facebook update is easier to comprehend and appeals to a broader user audience. The evolution of these systems has seen a corresponding failure of RSS aggregator products and services.
However, RSS is far from dead. Users may not realize it, but the technology is beneath the surface powering inter-website communication and interactions. Most of the social networks provide or consume RSS. Mash-ups often use feeds to combine data. Google devours RSS data to power website and product searches.
RSS has become a transparent data-exchange protocol. Like TCP/IP, the user need never know it’s there, why it’s being used, or how it works. Few people interact directly with feeds so news aggregators days may be numbered — but RSS is here to stay. It may not receive the same marketing hype, but RSS is working silently and effectively in the background.