Tuesday, 20 October 2009

RSS Readers - I'm not sure I like them...

I recently had to format my laptop (again) after having successfully gregged it™ and it was shortly after this point, when I fired up Internet Explorer and realised that I didn't have any bookmarks, that I started to think about using an online RSS reader, to remember them all for me.

After exactly _zero_ seconds looking around I opted to go with Google Reader, mainly because "Google" is synonymous with "Homepage" these days, and so I've spent the last few days remembering which blogs I read, which one's I only read because they were in my Favourites Bar (I might bookmark something, but the number of times I actually use a bookmark that isn't on my favourites bar is few and far between) and which ones I really didn't give a toss about any more.

So now I've got 16 blogs wired into Reader and I've been using it for a few days and I'm first reaction is one of discontent! This discontent is spawned of a few symptoms of using RSS and an RSS reader, so not Googles fault.

Firstly, it doesn't feel right. To me, part of the reading experience is visiting the authors site to see if they have written anything new. Seeing the page layout, the fonts and colours help me find the mental voice I associate with the author. It helps me read the post as if they were speaking or lecturing to me.

My second issue with the RSS reader is how some sites choose only to publish a snippet of the article on the feed, so you have to click through to their site to read the full story. This breaks the spell for me, before I used an RSS reader I was going to visit these sites regardless. Now that I do use a reader, and don't always get the full story, it feels like I've just added an extra step to the process of reading these articles. Granted I can see which blogs have new articles and which don't, you could argue this saves me time, but combined with the experience of reading feeling different, it compounds the dissatisfaction with the experience.

All that said, I've only been using it for just under a week now, so I might be flying off the handle.
I'm going to stick it out for a couple of weeks and see if it improves my quality of life. It will also give me something to write about too.

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