RSS is just a clunky high-volume replacement for web browsing. Rather than making it easier to consume information, it makes it easier to drown in context-free news, inducing that panicked feeling we all eventually learn too well when you see an RSS folder stuffed full with hundreds of unread posts.If you use a feed reader, there must have been at least a few times you've looked at the overwhelming pile of unread articles with a sigh. So much to read. You have to go in, click on each feed, laboriously skim the articles, and slog on through the pile.
But the issue here isn't so much with RSS. RSS is just a data format after all. The problem is that the current generation of feed readers merely reformat RSS for display. They don't do anything else, no prioritization, no filtering, no help dealing with the flood of information.
I saw a quote a while back that, I think, perfectly captures the problem:
We are drowning in information but are starving for knowledge.The problem is scaling attention. Readers have limited time. They don't want information. They want knowledge. Our job is to help them, to help them focus, prioritize, and find what they need.
Next-generation feed readers should help people find knowledge. Cut through the undifferentiated glut of information and find focus. Cut through the noise and discover knowledge.
See also my previous posts, "Turning noise to knowledge" and "Organizing chaos and information overload".