I’ve been an ardent RSS user since I built my own reader to teach myself PHP in 2001 or so. Lately I’ve found it too exhausting to keep up with despite a concerted effort to pare back the number of subscriptions I have. More and more I found myself preferring some of the Twitter lists I had set up to more casually follow some topics so I decided to go whole hog and eliminate the need for a dedicated RSS reader and go solely with Twitter lists.
Lists are nice for following topics because by default (unless your client enables it) they don’t show retweets which keeps them a little less cluttered than straight up following the same account. Sadly, other than Tweetdeck and Echofon few clients have good list support and since Jack took over Twitter again they’ve been more and more de-emphasized and I could see a time when Twitter eliminates them all together. I’ll take my chances for now.
Making the migration
I already had an apps-companies-services list for things I wanted to track. Any RSS feed I was subscribed to that fit this category I went and found the associated company Twitter account and added it to this list. Unfortunately a lot of companies are terrible about tweeting about their actual product so some I had to drop.
Next I created a new news list for things like Techmeme, PandoDaily/PandoTicker, Daring Fireball, etc. Yes I know it’s generous to call some of these sites news.
There were a few sites (MG Siegler’s blog and All About Microsoft most notably) that didn’t have dedicated feeds so I created a new Twitter account and set up ifttt to send new items from their RSS feed into that Twitter account. Unfortunately ifttt doesn’t let you register multiple Twitter accounts so if I wanted to do this again for another topic (like sports) I’d have to create another Twitter account and another ifttt account. For now I only need it for my news category.
My existing sports list (which is private) has the most important sports-related Twitter accounts I follow. I also maintain a separate Twitter account just for sports things so that during games or big events I can get an experience dedicated just to that and I can feel free to be louder during those times without offending people.
If there was anything I cut out I’ll rely on the collective curating abilities of the internet to surface it if it’s important enough. With the prevalence of retweets these days, that’s becoming more reliable.
It’s not a perfect system, but in the first few days of using it I’m happy with it. RSS is still a very useful technology but for news reading it has run its course for me.