You’ve probably already heard: Google Reader is being shut down on July 1st. For those of you too young to remember, Google Reader was a webapp that allowed people to subscribe to and read RSS feeds. RSS is a technology that allows websites to easily share content with one another, kind of like an API, but simpler, because it was basically a specially formatted text file.
People don’t use RSS and feed readers as much anymore, because websites are becoming “webapps,” which means that they only share data via the use of poorly programmed, poorly documented, an perpetually broken APIs.
Also, people are easily confused and frustrated, which means that they simply don’t have the patience to locate a site’s RSS feed and enter it into a feed reader.
Also, most feed readers are just awful.
Also, most people find it easier to just Facebook and Twitter, or whatever, which means that even though I have avoided social networking almost entirely up to this point, the fact that the teeming horde has abandoned RSS for these popular, closed systems, social networking is therefore directly responsible for killing off one of my favorite ways of working with the web.