I’ve heard mentioned in a few forums recently about the ‘Death of RSS’. I’ve been thinking about it a bit recently myself. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m referring to people no longer having time to get to the blogs and sites they subscribe to via their RSS readers. I use Google Reader for blog subscriptions but I have to admit, it’s become a long time between visits.
Why is it so?
That cool little 140 character stream of consciousness feed from the people I follow has become my most vital source of information. It is here where I discover blog posts as people filter and lead me to them, it is here where I get to know the latest and greatest next big thing, and it’s here where I can develop connections with some truly great minds who help me shape my thinking.
But this weekend was different. I laid off the twitter pursuit of new knowledge to invest some time in my Google Reader. And I’m glad I did. I read blog posts, I listened to the elongated thoughts of the people in my network and I benefited from the experience. I discovered links that hadn’t filtered through twitter. Maybe they had, but not when I was present. Let’s face it, you can’t be there 24/7, and if you are someone who trawls back to see everything that happened while you were away, then I’m thinking it’s time to reevaluate things big time!
I still maintain that RSS is the best way to introduce people to understanding why you would want to change your practice and rethink what it means to be a teacher and a learner at this time. I think people need to read the deeper thinking of educators who are trying to harness new ways of doing things. Twitter is very fast, particularly if you follow a lot of people. It is difficult to understand its relevance when you first begin using it and it can turn people off who don’t have a good understanding of building a network.
RSS helps you build the network. Reading blogs helps you figure out who the thinkers are and they in turn lead you to the thinkers they admire. Once you’ve got a bit of a handle on the reasoning behind establishing your PLN (Personal Learning Network), you can then start following these people through twitter and build a network there.
Anyway, that’s my take on things. RSS may have lost some of its relevance with the growth of twitter, but I don’t think it’s dead. This weekend confirmed for me the need to reconnect with the deeper thinking of my network through people’s posts. Judy O’Connell linked to The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age, written by Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg, with the help of Zoe Marie Jones. It’s a paper that has occupied my thinking for much of this weekend. Read it, courtesy of my Google Reader!!