Those of us who consume the social media Kool Aid think that RSS is where it’s all at. According to Google: “From your 267 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 11,381 items, starred 60 items, and shared 167 items.” And all of this is possible because of the wonders of RSS. I am effortlessly able to receive and organize all of this information and digest it in a reasonable time. It would be much harder to do this by email and impossible to do it by surfing to web sites.
But many of us must remember that we live inside a bubble. Not one that’s going to burst like that Internet economic one did in 2000, but one that sometimes prevents us from understanding the rest of the world. This is a point I harp on — partially to keep myself grounded but also because I see far too many people in the Web 2.0 space overlooking the fact that not everyone is like us.
This point was driven home solidly this week when I read the results of Rafat Ali’s PaidContent survey of readers. Below is the breakdown for how people consume the site’s information, according to the survey:
E-mail newsletter: 42%
Paidcontent.org website: 34%
RSS Reader: 19%
Mobile Device: 4%
Three-quarters of those who read PaidContent’s excellent news and information do so by very traditional means — email and web site. Less than 25 percent use more cutting edge tools like RSS or mobile devices. And this isn’t the New York Times we’re talking about, but rather one of the leading blogs in the technology and media industry.
So don’t turn a blind eye toward email. RSS is great, but email remains vital.