The Ask.com Blog: Bloglines Update – “update” is kind of an understatement, given that Ask is shutting down Bloglines. Bloglines was the tool I used for all of my newsreading (so second in importance after email) for years until, long after others had switched to Google Reader, I got tired of the increasing bugginess and made the switch myself.
It’s not particularly surprised that they’re shutting it down, given that they’ve let it languish since they purchased it, but I am a bit intrigued by the supposed reasons. People don’t use newsreaders anymore because everybody uses Twitter and Facebook. I just don’t get it. And by “it”, I largely mean Twitter…
I subscribe to a ton of RSS/Atom feeds in my newsreader for a number of different reasons: because I am interested in a topic and want to keep up with the news on that topic; because I like a person’s writing and want to read anything they do; because I’m friends with the person and want to keep up with their life; because I like a product/service/website and want to keep up with the news/changes to it; because I want to be alerted of various things, like when somebody mentions my website, or when a new photo is posted to Flickr around my house, etc.
So my “input” comes from my e-mail inbox (GMail), my newsreader (Google Reader), my social network (Facebook). In theory e-mail is for two-way conversations and my newsreader more for being broadcast to, in practice this is somewhat blurred. I had tried to fix this a bit with MailBucket, but that service is dead. Either way, they are both required parts of how I live. Facebook is good in that it lets me keep up with my friends in a passive way, in that the feed on the home page changes all the time, never shows everything, and does not keep track of what I have read or not. Like everything else though, it’s now become yet another source for general content.
Twitter, as far as I’m concerned, is microblogging, which is to say blogging (with a particular host), but always in short blog posts. So I can subscribe to interesting Twitter feeds in my regular newsreader, Google Reader. But why would I ever go to Twitter itself to read these? It creates an additional destination that lacks read/unread tracking. The other problem with Twitter is that the signal-to-noise ratio has gone way down, and I’m yet to see a compelling solution to this. And why would somebody who already has a blog, start blogging on Twitter? Why not keep using their existing blog?
Incidentally, I am subscribed in my newsreader to Mark Fletcher’s blog (the creator of Bloglines) and hadn’t seen him post about this… so I visit his blog and confirm that he has written no post about this. However in the sidebar, there’s his tweets, where he is of course, talking about this news.