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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

It Is Bloglines You Mourn For

I am a long-time Bloglines user. Back in the day when I did a lot of training, Bloglines is what I used to illustrate the power of RSS feeds and why they were so gosh-darn important.

On Friday, I went to my Bloglines account and discovered this message: “we are sorry to share that Bloglines will officially shut down on October 1, 2010. More detail can be found on the Ask.com blog – http://blog.ask.com.”

After a quick double check of the date (it’s not April 1!) I began to panic. NO NO NO. I clicked through to Ask.com and found the news got even worse: “The real-time information RSS was so astute at delivering (primarily, blog feeds) is now gained through conversations, and consuming this information has become a social experience. As Steve Gillmor pointed out in TechCrunch last year , being locked in an RSS reader makes less and less sense to people as Twitter and Facebook dominate real-time information flow. Today RSS is the enabling technology – the infrastructure, the delivery system. RSS is a means to an end, not a consumer experience in and of itself. As a result, RSS aggregator usage has slowed significantly, and Bloglines isn’t the only service to feel the impact.. The writing is on the wall.”

Quick rant: Why does every. bloody. thing have to be a social experience? I cannot go to a library or bookstore for a book anymore, it has to be for the social aspect and friendships and connecting! And, apparently, now I cannot quickly read through hundreds of blogs and newsfeeds, no, it has to be a Facebook experience. Why can’t I just like to READ?!? And just because RSS readers aren’t cool and shiny anymore, doesn’t mean people don’t use them.

Darn kids, got off my lawn!

Ahem. Rant over.

I love how RSS can be  used, as mentioned in Ask.com’s blog. I do not love how that ignores the very real need that a RSS aggregator offers to readers or the assumptions that how that cool tech kids do things are the only way anyone would want to do things.

What am I supposed to do to keep up on blog reading, because I’m sure not going back to the olden days of going to each individual blog every day to see what, if anything, got posted. I love Twitter, but it’s all real time so unless I’m on when someone posts their feed to Twitter (a practice, by the way, some people don’t like), I’ve missed it. Facebook has similar time/timing issues.

According to TechCrunch, “Bloglines isn’t the first RSS reader to throw in the towel; Newsgator shut down its online newsreader last year. Now, Google Reader is all we have left; though even that product is slowly being replaced. We’ve put Bloglines in the TechCrunch Deadpool.

Apparently, Google Reader is now our only choice and much as I love many things in the G-family, this isn’t one of them. Still, it’s what we have. Simply follow the instructions on bloglines to export your blog, then import it into Google Reader. It took me less than five minutes, and –

WAIT.

That product is slowly being replaced“?!?

OK, my techy and non techy readers. Please share with me just what Techcrunch meant by that!

Also, do you use Bloglines? Or Google Reader? Or is there another way to keep up on blogs and feeds that I’ve missed?

Or, if you prefer, please just commiserate with me about Bloglines passing and let’s have an old-fashioned wake for it.

share save 171 16 It Is Bloglines You Mourn For
About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is lizzy.burns@gmail.com.

Comments

  1. Angela says:

    That product is slowly being replaced

    That line’s been bothering me since I first heard about Bloglines being shut down. I’ve been using Google Reader for a few years now and mostly like it, and haven’t heard anything about it being replaced! I’m certainly not going to rely on my Facebook friends to send me relevant links – they mostly post funny cat pictures. Now, I love funny cat pictures, but I use my Google Reader feeds for all of my book blogging needs, plus news commentary and cooking blogs. Few other people I know have the same style of interests as me (and feel the need/inclination to share those posts), so I prefer the self-reliance of an RSS reader!

  2. Christine M says:

    I commiserate with you! I used to use Bloglines, but switched to Reader – at the time I switched there were things I liked better about Reader. I don’t know about Reader being replaced. I don’t know how I’ll read blogs without it. Le Sigh.

  3. Marissa says:

    I know, I know…I did a double take when I read the opening message on Bloglines too. I’ve been using Bloglines since 2005, and loved the simple, easy way it let me browse a gazillion feeds. I’ve imported everything to Google Reader, but so far, I’m not a huge fan. And losing all my clippings? *sob* Now I’m frantically saving, bookmarking, copying things I don’t want to lose. And if Google Reader is being replaced?! I’m with you – does EVERYTHING have to be Facebook-ized, or social? I just wanna read my feeds in peace! :-) So long, Bloglines…..

  4. Tasha says:

    I am a long-time Bloglines and then Google Reader user. I depend on my RSS readers to get through my feeds quickly, have them in categories that make sense to me, and even have them wait patiently for me to have time to view them.

    Here’s the trick to Google Reader. You need a plug in. On Google Chrome, I use Reader Plus. On Firefox, I was using GreaseMonkey scripts. They make it more functional, allow you to customize the way you view the feeds, etc.

    I see how some people will want RSS feed readers replaced. RSS feeds were difficult to figure out (though easy once you did) and I never got many converts even among geeky folks to give an aggregator a try. But I think that there will be those of us blog junkies who continue to use feed readers even if they are dying out. I can’t imagine trying to get my feeds from Facebook or Twitter exclusively. Ick!

    Finallly, I dispute that Google Reader is the last feed reader around. There are lots of them that are desktop based that seem to be quite popular. RSS Bandit just got a big write up on one of the tech blogs. It is where I would head if I didn’t like Google Reader much.

  5. Jennifer W. says:

    I hate Facebook. It won’t import my blog, it won’t import my library blog, it kicked our library off pages (and never responded to our emails). Ping won’t import my blog either. I depend on google reader – how on earth could one possible make reading hundreds of blogs a “social experience”? Urgh. Now I am all worried that google reader is going to disappear! Argh!

  6. Meredith says:

    Saying RSS readers are dying is like when people say print books and publishing is dying. It’s all just a little premature. I do know that if you use Firefox, you can download any number of free RSS readers that work right in the browser (like Sage). The downside is that you can’t check the feeds from other computers, since it’s attached directly to the actual browser.

  7. My hubby had the same reaction as you, Liz. He’s a Bloglines devotee and the GR interface doesn’t suit him at all. He is quite disgruntled about having to switch over. I much prefer GR myself, though, for the clean look and ease of organizing, searching, subbing. Bloglines seemed more cluttered to me.

    I’m mystified by the notion Ask.com & TechCrunch are putting forth that realtime social media streams could serve the same purpose as RSS aggregators. It’s apples and oranges. VCRs and DVRs became hugely popular because they allow us to grab the shows we watch out of the “realtime stream” and view them when it’s most convenient for us. Can you imagine ever going back to having to hope you could catch a show only when it’s aired? That’s what relying on realtime streams for regular blog-reading would be like.

    I’m not worried about losing GR. Maybe it’s naive of me, but I think it’s a product that serves a specific purpose, and there’s going to be a continued demand for it—maybe smaller than in the past, but still a demand. I think Google has the resources to maintain an aggregator, and they’ve got it dovetailed with other Google products.

  8. Yeah – used bloglines, and switched back to Reader because Bloglines was … well, a bit flaky with its updating of things. I’m sorry to hear that it’s going, though, because it had some nice features, it just needed some coddling to get it into shape to compete.

    The death of the RSS feed … well, is absurd. So many people / companies have invested so much into them that there will always be a reader out there somewhere.

    That said, though: keeping your “clippings” or “starred items” in your reader is quite silly: it puts you at the mercy of the company who’s hosting your reader, meaning that you’re locked in. I no longer use “starred items” as anything but a temporary storage place, instead exporting all of my starred items out and posting the links to my own blog about once a week (see my links category if you’re interested). That’s the only way to keep them from being at the mercy of some faithless corporation.

  9. Gwenda says:

    I moved over to Google Reader a couple of years ago, when bloglines was having a lot of outages. I like it fine. Like you, I do not know what I’d do without it–read many, many fewer blogs, I suspect.

  10. Jennie says:

    ARGH! I can’t do Facebook at work. I’m not going to scroll through all the latest drama in my friends lives to get to a book review (or scroll through book reviews to get the latest drama) and honestly, I’m too lazy to click over to read the article/post linked to half the time.

    Which is why I use Google Reader. It’s all right there, organized, with full text. 1 stop blog reading.

  11. Angela says:

    Jennifer – Facebook is being grumpy and unhelpful about content from other locations. For example, I used to be able to share directly from Google Reader and have the articles show up on my Facebook wall. That stopped working awhile ago. Importing blogs seems to have gone away at the same time, and then the Twitter app was no longer permitted to import your Twitter updates as status updates, instead sending them to the wall and making it harder for my FB friends to follow because multiple updates from Twitter would be collapsed into a “See all 8 Twitter updates” link, including updates from other Twitter users. Facebook is a selfish mess and is hardly supporting making the internet a social experience.

  12. Gregory K. says:

    I was working up a post on this just last night at the Happy Accident… but didn’t get it done cuz I was trying to figure out that line, too. I take it to mean that Reader will be merged into something else (in the same way that Google Voice is now a part of gmail, for example), as I can’t find anything more concrete.

    I don’t think RSS is dead, and not everyone at TechCrunch does, either:

    http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/13/rss-is-not-not-not-not-not-dead/

    I love my Reader. Social interactions don’t yet replace it for me.

  13. Jodie says:

    I could so easily have missed that as I never look at the right hand panel unless there’s a blog in there. I tried GoogleReader initially, but couldn’t get on with the look of it. Isn’t there one called feedburner still up and running? Potential option?

  14. Terese says:

    I use Yahoo’s RSS reader and love it. I hope it doesn’t go the way of Bloglines!

  15. Liz says:

    Thunderbird has an RSS feed feature which imports RSS feeds directly into your email, in a separate RSS folder. Outlook has the same feature–if you use either one of those for your email, you should be able to get your RSS feeds without being dependent on bookmarks or a web-based reader.

    I use Google Reader now, but if it too disappears, I’ll be using the RSS feature in Thunderbird.

  16. Laura says:

    I just discovered Google Reader last year and I LOVE IT. I will be extremely upset if it goes away.

  17. web says:

    I switched to Google Reader some time ago, because Bloglines was constantly driving me crazy. I found GR superior in every way imaginable and I would hate to lose it.

  18. Hah, I just started using Google Reader a few months ago. I read this post on Google Reader! I started out, actually, feeding things onto my LiveJournal Friends page, but then there got to be too many blogs I wanted to follow that weren’t already fed into livejournal (don’t have a paid account, can’t do it myself), or blogs– like yours!– that I HAD been following but then they changed locations and I wasn’t getting them anymore– so I finally broke down and started putting them into Google Reader. I like being able to mark things read and leave others unread to come back to them, and I don’t use any of the fancier features, so that all works fine for me. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to get rid of RSS readers. Not having to keep up with things in real time is one of their ADVANTAGES– they just stay there waiting for you. I can’t keep up with just people I know personally on Facebook– none of whom would be linking to any of the cool book/library blogs I want to read about, anyway.

  19. I, too, am lamenting the loss of Bloglines. Sure, it was kind of flaky with feeds at times, but it was so darn… accessible. I’ve switched to Google reader (and I’m like many: Facebook/Twitter is for chatting, a reader is for, well, *reading*), but I’m not liking it at much (even though it’s faster at putting up the feeds). But, I suppose if it’s the last thing us rss-feed-readers have, it’s probably good to support it.

    Crossing my fingers that it doesn’t die out entirely.

  20. Jennifer W. says:

    You mean it’s not just me? and my library? I thought I was going crazy, with every single help article and instruction list starting out “it’s so easy to import your blog to facebook if you know how” and then the imported blog just…disappeared. Even when I re-added it multiple times. I will be glad to stick to my google reader from now on. Phew.

  21. notemily says:

    I use Google Reader, but I use Feedly to read it. I will be EXTREMELY disappointed if it goes away. I have so many RSS feeds!

  22. Michelle says:

    I had no idea! I’ve always used my NetNewsWire client installed on my mac and if I’m lucky and I can get to it at work I have everything in my Google Reader as well. I shudder to think of what feed reading will become, what a pain in a the patoot that will be if we have to go the way of any of the methods using social media you mentioned. I certainly won’t visit more than 10 blogs a week in that situation.

  23. Mary Lee says:

    Ruh-Roh. If Google Reader goes away, I’m skunked!

  24. Brenda Kahn says:

    I hope that RSS feeders don’t go away! I started with Yahoo’s but didn’t love it and switched over to Google. I’m happy with it. I see my friends’ blog posts occasionally on Facebook, but I don’t want to rely on that to get updates as I have a fair number of friends and often miss some news based on the numbers of posts and the fact that I’m not on FB a lot.

    bk

  25. rcn says:

    Thanks for this post and for all comments. I’m always behind in reading my library-related feeds in Bloglines, which I tend to do during momentary lulls at the walk-in and telephone Reference Desk. We can’t access Sage, Thunderbird, etc. from the staff desk computers, so it looks like I, too, will have to switch to Google Reader. That’s OK, but I doubt I’ll find the time to download all the posts saved in my trusty Bloglines electronic filing cabinet. Many saved posts will become lost gems! And, no, social sites such as FaceBook and Twitter are no substitutes whatsoever for the Bloglines experience, and I hope that Ask.com hears that message loud and clear from Bloglines subscribers.

    ~RCN in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area

  26. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Angela, I remain confused about the TechCrunch post. They did a follow up which just left me more puzzled. In the meanwhile, I am adjusting to Google Reader.

    Christine M, I hope Google keeps Google Reader. It seems a bit like the crowd who insist in a year there will be no more print books, because they own a Kindle. They don’t want to see the world outside their sphere. At least, that’s what I hope.

    Marissa, I’m with you: let me read in peace!

    Tasha, thanks for the info about the plug ins and other RSS alternatives.

    Jennifer W, “urgh” and “argh” with you.

    Meredith, it seems both premature and (like publishing/books) a bit of a self-fullfilling prophecy. If someone now acts as if RSS readers will go away, less people will use them, so they will go away, etc.

    Melissa, glad to know I’m in such good company. And yay, I cannot wait to meet you for real in Minneapolis!

    David, I know it’s wrong to store things on a free service that may go away. I just backed up my old blog, realizing relying on blogger wasn’t terribly smart. I also realize depending on something that is free is a bit foolish. Actually, I’d have more respect for Ask.com if they said “hey, it’s free, it costs us more to run than we get in advertising, so financially it has to shut down” than “oh, it’s so 2008.”

    Gwenda, I’m adjusting to Google Reader. It’s just change, you know? It’s hard.

  27. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Jennie, the work factor! I know! Work can block/not allow certain things, and to ignore that results in privileging one class of people above another. Saying FB/Twitter is what Matters now pushes aside, forever, those of us whose work places do not allow being on FB/Twitter. So now it says those who Matter can never be (fill in the work place…teacher. librarian. etc.)

    Angela, after reading that all i thought was: “head. desk. repeat.”

    Gregory K, I commented! At your blog! Twice!

    Jodie, Google Reader is working OK for me right now. Someone really should write a post, “a guide to Google Reader for Blogline refugees.”

    Terese, thanks for sharing another option.

    Liz, yay, even more options!

  28. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Laura, I’m not feeling the love yet, but I like it more than I did a week ago. Maybe one day “love” will happen.

    web, I guess I got used to Bloglines hiccups.

    rockinlibrarian…oh, LJ feeds and friend feeds. that is a whole other thing and headache.

    melissa, my fingers are crossed, also.

    jennifer w, I’m not even going to try to add this blog to my FB.

    notemily, thanks for the heads up about feedly.

    michelle, thanks for sharing another option for mac users.

    mary lee, ruh ro indeed!

    brenda, i would miss a lot if I was “reading” blogs just via FB and Twitter.

    RCN, part of me is curious as to whether Ask.com is following these conversations. And yes, yes, yes, to what can and cannot be accessed at work.

  29. I didn’t use bloglines, but have been using Reader for a couple years. It has always been like that dress that doesn’t fit quite right for me. It won’t customize enough for me. I have run a couple of parallel readers to find something better … I like FeedRinse and am trying RSSOwl. The former is pretty intuitive; the latter takes a little bit of tweaking, but I can organize feeds better.

  30. Maureen says:

    I let out a shriek of dismay on reading the bit about Google Reader going away. I switched over from Bloglines awhile back, and while GR is not perfect, I have made all my little adjustments to make it work the way I want it to. I don’t want to migrate again, and the thought of RSS going away totally . . . wha?! No. Just . . . no.

  31. Another thanks for the Feedly reference. Much improved from just Google Reader alone. Hadn’t thought of Firefox add-ons for some reason.

  32. Isabelle says:

    wow! thanks for the feedly reference too for firefox. So much better!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] about readers and a bit of convo about the “RSS is dead” issue over at Liz Burns’ A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy blog. Even a rant! And if you’ve got a favorite reader, feel free to share the info here or there [...]

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