RSS Readers versus the browser

I’m starting to notice some behavioral shifts in the way I get my Internet content lately. About 10 years ago, I got something like 90% of my content through e-mail, like I’d imagine everyone did. Over the last few years, I probably spend as much time in Firefox or another web browser as I do in my e-mail client (excluding, for the moment, something like GMail or HotMail).

What I’m finding lately, though, is that I track 43 blogs — and end up using my newsreader (NetNewsWire) probably as much as I do my browser. The blogs run the gamut:

  • Very personal blogs, like my brother’s (pictures of his kid) or my friend lori’s
  • Interesting topics that I just like to follow — things about PVRs or Sunnyvale news or Gizmodo
  • Venture & entrepreneurship blogs, which aren’t directly relevant to my job, but are to my career
  • Blogs about search & browsers that are directly relevant to my job, plus blogs by Mozilla people
  • Technology “personality” blogs — people like Joi Ito or Jeremy Zawodny who opine about what they’re seeing

I think the behavior change is that there’s some relatively important flow of news that I like to have delivered directly to me, but not to my mail inbox (I think of my mail in box quite distinctly as a list of action items). There is a whole category of news that I don’t want delivered like this flow — CNN, ESPN, things like that — news that has a much larger set of items and a relatively small list of items that I care about. Firefox is still clearly the best way to get that news.

Anyway, not sure exactly what to make of all this, except that it’s interesting. When you take everything together (e-mail client, web browser, news reader) and add all the new channels (IM, VOIP, iCal, others) and it’s feeling more like I have silos of information again.


  1. for another perspective, see Scott Kleper’s thoughtful “Why do we need RSS Readers?”

  2. for another perspective, see Scott Kleper’s thoughtful “Why do we need RSS Readers?”