Why I let go of RSS and embraced social media

I recently had a Twitter conversation with a former colleague whom I follow on both Twitter and Facebook. I mentioned that I had traded RSS for social media and hadn’t looked back. Despite being more active than me on both of these services, she was surprised – but thought that it made sense since all of the good links and media generally bubble up through tweets and status updates.

This may be old news for some, but I hadn’t put my finger on why this was significant until that moment. Personally, I had long ago burned out on wading through tons of  blog and news RSS feeds just to find those rare stories that I deemed worthy of interest. The signal-to-noise ratio was out of control, and the articles and posts became increasingly time consuming to pore through every day. I felt chained to my feed aggregator and, when it ceased to be fun and necessary for work, I quit.

As I ramped my activity on social network sites these past few years, I re-discovered those interesting news nuggets but now married to community (i.e., the opportunity to comment, share, interact) and with a more personable conveyance. It’s one thing to simply read a news story, it’s another to see why your high school buddy or former colleague thinks it’s interesting.

And, as a bonus, posts are typically 140 characters or less, so they’re easy to scan and clear. If I have a complaint, it would be that I see the same stories again and again – even more so now that Facebook has become Twitter 2 and even accepts tweets directly in lieu of status updates. But then, sometimes it takes 2-3 exposures before I’m motivated to click that link or watch that video. It’s the same with advertising and marketing: It usually takes repeated exposure to a brand or ad message before the customer takes any action. With the exception of straight retweets, each time I see the same post there’s a new perspective added.

All I know is that I find my feeds much more interesting now that they are socially shared and editorialized, and I enjoy the work of keeping up with news and memes and whatever else is buzzing out on the Interwebs since I can do it with my friends.

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