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Do You Still Need an RSS Reader?

Do You Still Need an RSS Reader?

How are you reading blog and site feeds these days? Over the last year and a half many people have been arguing for and against the idea that RSS is dead. While I don’t agree with that viewpoint, siding instead with Matthew Ingram on GigaOm,  it’s true to say that there are a lot more ways to access the content you want to track than by using a feed reader. There are lots of tools around to curate or prettify those feeds.

Dressing Up Your RSS Feed

If you’re a bit conservative, but want your feed content to look more attractive, consider Feedly, a Google Reader overlay that offers a raft of useful tools. Not only will the contents of your RSS reader look like a magazine (complete with title page and list of recent items) but you can share to a number of sites from within the Feedly interface. In fact you can do pretty much everything you can do in Google Reader, but it’s faster and prettier.

Curating Facebook Content

Facebook fanatics will know that after a while it gets difficult to keep track of what your friends have shared.  And after a while you don’t want to add any more  links to your feed reader. Enter PostPost,  a social news aggregator that gives you a browser based newspaper with all the links your friends have shared. Click the handy buttons at the side to toggle between viewing everything or just links, photos or videos and click on a link for an inline view of the post. The content is searchable, too. The only thing missing is a like button.

Curating Twitter Content

If you’re a heavy Twitter user, then Paper.li is probably the tool for you. By default it collects stuff shared in your timeline to make a Twitter newspaper that makes it easy for you to find the news you want. All the content is segmented by topic, though you can also see a list of all articles. You can reply, retweet, follow, unfollow and favorite from within the Paper.li interface. The site has also launched a Facebook newspaper creation tool, which allows you to create a paper around a particular search term.

All of these tools take you away from following blogs and sites via RSS and you can go even further. If you like the pages of your favorite blogs on Facebook and create a list of those same blogs on Twitter, you can use the tools above to get all the updates in an easy to read format. No more skimming your RSS reader and no more overloading your email inbox with blog updates.  I personally find this useful during my work as an advisor to a live chat support software company.

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A Social Curation Wishlist

Social curation is a growing field and there are likely to be more tools that offer this kind of functionality.  If I had a wishlist for a tool of this type, it would combine the best aspects of PostPost and Paper.li but would allow me to carry out all site functions from within the interface. What’s your favorite tools for following blog and site updates? If you’ve tried any of the tools listed here, I’d love to hear what you thought.

Guest Bio: Lior works as a marketing advisor to a live chat support software company.

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