This finally dawned on me while discussing RSS readers with a guy I met at a bar earlier this week: RSS is most valuable for infrequently updated RSS feeds.
Do you really need an RSS feed to send you the latest content from TechCrunch, Engadget, or Slashdot? These are sites that update 10-20+ times per day, so you can confidently know that any time you revisit the site, there will be something new for you to read.
Given that, here are a couple stats on how I read feeds:
First, here is a high level of how many feeds and posts I’ve read in the past 30 days:
And here is a look at how many pieces of content I consume per day through Google Reader:
What this tells me is that I’m subscribed to 338 unique RSS feeds, yet only read something like 400 posts a day. The ONLY part is debatable, but the point is that it’s very close to a 1:1 ratio.
How can it possibly be so low? Because I subscribe to a TON of feeds that are hardly ever updated. However, when they are, I want to read them. They could be blogs written by friends of mine, feeds for obscure crap that I’m looking for on Ebay, Craigslist, or MinnesotaHomes.com.
This, in my mind, shows off the real power of RSS Readers. You’re given the power to passively track content that truly interests you, no matter how obscure.