When I asked folks earlier this week to leave a comment on that post if they are a regular visitor to my blog (and thank you very much those who did), I found that about half of you are subscribed to me – you are giving me permission to PUSH my posts at you via RSS rather than coming by and PULLING the articles yourselves.
RSS makes a tonne of sense, and it is the epitomy of permission marketing – relevant, anticipated content delivered to an actual person who has asked for it. And it is one of the results of Web 2.0 and the Long Tail niche-ification of information – totally personalized content delivered to your door every day, as if someone was printing a newspaper or producing a TV show just for you. But I don’t subscribe to many feeds, and here’s why: I’m a moody browser.
There are some sites I go to every day, like Seth, Scott, and Penmachine. There are others that I go to when I want to spend more time exploring the ephemera of the Web, like BoingBoing, YesButNoButYes and Truemors. And there are some that I only go to when I’m completely goofing off, like Geekologie, xkcd, Dave Barry, and Indexed. The content I crave varies with what mood I’m in and how much time I have available.
So I don’t use RSS (except for news and weather) for two reasons: first, I might not WANT to know that there’s a new post at YesButNoButYes (like there is every couple of hours) right when it happens – I want to drift by and soak up a couple of days’ worth when I feel like it. And second, there’s a bit of a treasure-hunter style thrill when I check blogs that are updated less frequently (like Netdud and Basic Instructions) and find a new post – it would have been less “exciting” to have it pop up in my Google Reader.