Re: Will Twitter Replace RSS

This post is in reply to the article Will Twitter Replace RSS.

I use Twitter to watch human feeds, because you cannot follow too many people before being able to lose track of what is going on.  I believe the maximum number of personal connections someone can really truly follow is around 100.  Twitter allows some enhancement of this, but the number really stays the same before the stream appears to have a lot of noise.  Add the fact that most Twitter clients show profile pics, including on the Twitter web page itself, means that you can only show 5-8 tweets before needing to scroll up or down.  Following too many people involves a lot of clicking and scanning rather than interacting, especially if you follow any of the top/vocal accounts.  This quickly gets old and unmanageable.


I read about 330 feeds in my feed reader.  These are active feeds that in total generate over 1000 posts each day.  Much of this is professional and news notifications that I would have no other way of accessing without hitting all 330 sites to look for updates.  To wade through that many without some sort of organization would be madness.  My feed reader MonkeyChow provides that organization with feed groups so that I can read webstrips at one moment, quickly switch to Mini Cooper feeds, or view the whole stream.  Twitter does not provide any organization or filtering at all to the river of news – in its simplicity it provides nothing more than public or private replies.  Systems like FriendFeed can organize this into groups, and the ability to provide discussion around these is fantastic.  Although FriendFeed is my favorite way to deal with the aggregation of the various social networks, it is still not organized for scanning through hundreds of articles.  It is built for 2-way social interaction, and alerts or robot posts do not belong there.  My RSS reader does not provide the 2-way communication that Twitter provides, so those alerts belong in my feed reader.

My metric then for determining whether something goes into Twitter or the RSS reader is if it requires that 2-way communication.  Anyone using their Twitter account to post ads is not providing a 2-way communication, and thus it is worthless to me.   But someone posting updates and then actively discussing them provides a lot of value to me.  Robert Scoble makes an excellent point of this here.  Twitter is a phenomenal tool, but there are a lot of goofy tweet tools out there, especially some of these monetization schemes, that are trying to shoehorn services on top of Twitter that are just making it seem stupid.  Keep it simple.