June 19, 2014
What Does it Mean to Be Social?

It seems like whenever someone is looking for an easy or obvious way to inject RSS with mass market appeal, the answer is always to be more like social media. 

But that answer is neither obvious or easy. RSS is not social media. RSS will never be a best way to publish your birthday pictures on your wall. It will never pull from your Facebook profile, get you a better Klout score, or get your photos onto Instagram.

But we do believe that the community building and information sharing that happens in social media ought be even more powerful in RSS. The question is how to translate social sharing into the RSS reader world without compromising our core values. 

Last week I talked about why I believe RSS is the best tool for getting the content you want. Of course, there is a catch to that premise. For RSS to work, you already need to know that you want stuff from a particular site. And that obviously doesn’t work if there’s interesting stuff you don’t know exists. 

I also understand that RSS can sometimes deliver too much stuff, and users can drown in information. You can get also create your own echo chamber, never discovering new content or having your horizon broadened. 


Instead of mocking the more inane aspects of social media, let’s take the best parts and run with it. Our goal is to deliver stuff that’s been read, vetted, and recommended by people whose opinions you respect. Or at least people who have good taste.

We’re going to grapple with that issue of how to do that without compromising our core principles. I know there are some strong feelings out there around this issue. Let’s hear it. 

  1. theoldreader posted this
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