Does anyone use RSS/Atom?

Posted by Martin Vilcans on 3 September 2014

Are you reading this in a feed reader? Maybe you're the only one.

After Google Reader died, I tried a few other similar services, but it never became a routine, so soon my feed would be an unmanageble mess of unread posts. Instead, my daily intake of information about what's happening in the world has come mainly from Twitter (for work, hobbies, etc.) and Facebook (for staying in touch with people, events and politics). As a fan of open standards, I hasn't been happy with that. Also, the signal to noise ratio on these media is pretty bad, so lately I wanted to go back to staying up to date using feeds (RSS and Atom).

So a few days ago I installed Newsbeuter and imported my old feeds from Google Reader. Several of these old feeds were invalid. In some cases, the whole website was gone, but surprisingly often, the site was still around, and there was still a feed, only that the feed URL had changed (probably because they switched to another CMS or blogging platform). As they didn't bother to redirect from the old feed URL, web masters showed they don't consider their feed subscribers an asset.

This made me doubt anyone subscribes to feeds any more. I use Feedburner for my feed. In Feedburner I can I get reports on the number of subscribers. The number is bigger than it ever was back in the good old days of the blogosphere and RSS, but I doubt it's valid. Actually, I'm worried that Feedburner will be shut down any day now. By killing off Reader and removing feed subscription support in Chrome, Google (who aquired Feedburner in 2007) showed that they don't care much for feeds. (Unless they are the proprietary Google+ feeds of course.)

But maybe I don't need to worry about Feedburner shutting down. Nobody subscribes to feeds anymore.

But please tell me I'm wrong.

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