Twitter Is Not RSS

June 15, 2012 by Gabe | [mmd] |

Over the past several months, I've seen this subject come up again and again: RSS is dying. Twitter is replacing it.

I don't believe it for one second. The stats for tell a very different story.1 My RSS subscribers (last I checked) was at least 50 times the number of people that read the pages directly. Retweets of articles and incoming links from Twitter are a small fraction of overall page views.

Twitter is great. I funnel a lot of stuff from Twitter into Instapaper and Pinboard. But Twitter is a flowing river. I am not on Twitter all day so I miss the clever banter and people complaining about Twitter.2 RSS is time-shifted. RSS is targeted and bounded by my subscriptions. Clever hacks like IFTTT can make Twitter more like RSS but it's a pale facsimile.

Twitter is not RSS. They are uniquely different and both are great for research in their own way. From what I can tell, both are becoming more common every day.

  1. These numbers are likely biased towards people familiar with technology. I write about technology and science. It draws a certain kind of reader that is more comfortable with RSS and a dark room. 

  2. I do not miss it in the since of "longing to see it" but rather in the sense of "not seeing it".