Blogs, feeds, and relevance

Martin Varsavsky asks if blogs are being rendered irrelevant by RSS feeds. Adrian Cockroft kicks in an interesting idea about lack of comments being the single biggest issue with the feeds. And as I was about to write a longer comment to Martin’s post, I decided to do it here. Enjoy it or skip it, the choice is yours :)

Lack of comments Adrian called the “main issue with RSS readers” is actually a two-edged sword. Quite often, comments are not that interesting, so leaving them out allows me to focus on the bits coming from the source I’ve decided to keep my eyes on. However every now and then I would much appreciate an easy way to selectively turn on comment feeds for a particular post — which is something I haven’t found yet.

Not seeing my sources’ new and ever shinier looks is — to me — a benefit, not a problem. What I’m actually interested in is what you’ve got to say, not in which font or color you like to say it. And having the thoughts from different sources presented to me in a consistent format makes reading a lot easier.

The thing with blogs (and even more with “old-school” news channels including newspapers) is that nearly all of them contain some stuff that is really interesting, and more stuff that is not (at least to me at the time, but it may be to someone else or at another time). Feeds let me focus on what I’m interested in right now, giving me an easy — and timewise inexpensive — way to skip over the stuff that I’m not.

But there are a couple of things that I think bloggers of the feed era (should we call them “feeders”?) have to learn: good and relevant post titles are a must, and if you’re providing a “castrated” feed instead of a full one, then the leads must be even better than the titles.

3 Responses to “Blogs, feeds, and relevance”


  • I have to agree with you- effectiveness is the main reason RSS has become so popular.

    Comments mostly consist of irrelevant info (like this one). The few ones that do contain some brighter thoughts can easily be picked up by the blogger concerned and thus find their way to future posts.

    And yes, some bloggers have yet to become accustomed to bringing the facts and leaving the decorations.

  • I use Feedburner to see where my readers click in RSS and get enough feedback (and egoboost :-) when I have included something my readers have found interesting. And my inbox is Technorati – brings me stuff like a russian translation of a french article where I’m quoted… fablous.

    ps. Feedburner reports reach that is about the same as weekly returning visitors…

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