As Steve Gillmor pointed out in TechCrunch last year , being locked in an RSS reader makes less and less sense to people as Twitter and Facebook dominate real-time information flow. Today RSS is the enabling technology – the infrastructure, the delivery system. RSS is a means to an end, not a consumer experience in and of itself. As a result, RSS aggregator usage has slowed significantly, and Bloglines isn’t the only service to feel the impact.. The writing is on the wall.
I don’t know if I agree with the conclusion RSS readers are a form of lock-in. I consider Facebook participation as a form of lock-in as all my quips, photos and posts in that social networking cul-de-sac will never be exported back out again. There’s no way to do it, never ever. With an RSS reader at least my blogroll can easily be exported and imported again using OPML formatted ASCII text. How cool is that in the era of proprietary binary formats (mp4, pdf, doc). No I would say RSS is kind of innately good in and of itself. Enabling technologies are like that and while RSS readers are not the only way to consume or create feeds I haven’t found one of them that couldn’t import my blogroll. Try doing that with Twitter or Facebook (click the don’t like button).