This isn’t very surprising. It’s pretty widely known that RSS adoption by the masses has been slow going, but this study adds a new wrinkle: even those that use RSS spend very little time on those headlines. The study goes on to note that people have become very proficient in handling/sifting through email. Some observations:
- I’m not sure it’s fair to compare RSS to email just yet. I can’t imagine very many people are subscribing to ecommerce newsletters via RSS these days. The work habits around RSS as business marketing aren’t fully baked…yet.
- A critical shortcoming of just about every RSS reader or aggregator is that all content looks the same. Why do I still visit CNN and techmeme on the web? Because the visual layout of the sites provide me with some context and cognitive guidance. Feed readers don’t. After all, all feeds are not created equal.
- RSS is supposed to be a great push technology. But let’s be realistic. Nothing gets in our faces better than email. We will iinevitably go to our Inboxes. It will take much broader and deeper adoption before RSS comes near the attention level of email.
- Related to the last point, we are so committed to email that we’re rewiring ourselves to handle and manage SPAM better. So while RSS comes to us free of noise and junk, we’re sticking by email…for now.
RSS is and continues to be the darling of technophiles who enjoy digesting large amounts of content. But we shouldn’t delude ourselves. Email is at a whole other level of the Technology Collective Consciousness. It will take a lot more before RSS gets there. It’s an incredibly promising technology but some tweaks are needed both in terms of how the technology is implemented and how we educate people about it.