Are Google Reader and RSS feeds killing the theatrosphere?

A question for bloggers and RSS blog subscribers:

Since you started using RSS feeds to keep track of the blogs you read, do you feel more or less engaged in blog communities? Is it possible to get RSS fatigue? And is RSS turning us into headline scanners at the expense of community?

11 thoughts on “Are Google Reader and RSS feeds killing the theatrosphere?

  1. No.

    So there.

    1.) Set your Reader to display as much of the post as the publisher will allow.
    2.) guilt every publisher into turning on RSS feeds of comments.

    Without an aggregator I would never be able to keep up with the breadth of content y’all put out.

    The community gets lost from publishers who have no way for me to track the conversations following a post. I never remember to go back and check it out.

  2. Thanks for the feedback Travis.

    I hear what you’re saying. But, personally, I’m finding myself feeling less and less engaged with individual blogs the more RSS feeds I subscribe to. I subscribe to 89 currently. I used to read more content on fewer blogs. Where will it end?

  3. I think I am less engaged with individual blogs, but am more engaged in the larger conversation.

    There is a definite saturation point, but most of the theatrosphere aren’t daily posters, so it keep it pretty low bandwidth, unlike the tech blog echo chamber…

    Which I guess is my convoluted way of saying I don’t know.

  4. With my RSS feeds, I find I always click on certain blogs and read what I have in the window (and will usually migrate to the blog as well). But I have tons of blogs in my reader that I’ve added because they sound interesting, but I only check once in a blue moon. I’m thinking about changing the format so that I can see a bit of all of them on one page so that I can take a little more interest in those blogs.

    The good thing about RSS readers is that it’s easier to keep up. I’m with Travis – I’d love to be able to track the conversations following a post. Travis, is there a way I can set up my blogger to do that?

    I find the question really interesting because wasn’t it just weeks ago that you were bemoaning that there are so few theatre bloggers, Ian? So which is it? Do we need to have more of us here, or do we just more actively engage in what we already have to keep the sense of community?

  5. Great meta-question Ian, as I read it while skimming my google reader feeds.

    There are definitely some days where I feel that I don’t give all the daily posts the attention they deserve, when I started subscribing I would make sure I read everything. But I realized somewhere along the way that some posts are just not pertinent to me and what I want to get out of the blogosphere (ie: relentless American political opining) so I’ve become very adept at quickly identifying the posts that I want to read and giving over the small amount of blog time to only those. Part of this process is the familiarity I have with the voices of each of my subscribed writers, making it easier to cherry-pick posts.

    I read my feeds like I used to read the newspaper (which I no longer do), headlines and first couple of sentences get a chance to grab me, and then I move on. And like Travis says, without it I know I would be regularly missing out on some great stuff.

  6. Hey MK. When you’re leaving your comment on blogger, you can ask it to “Email follow-up comments to . . .” your email address.

    Look just below the comments field to the upper right of this page. I don’t use the feature personally, but I know other people who do.

    Travis, is that how you stay on top of multiple comment threads?

  7. I take what ever come-to-me technology a blog allows me. :)

    Some sites are follow up e-mails, some let me subscribe to the comments as a separate feed.

    Isaac Butler makes me go back to the site when I remember, but it also means that I miss out on a lot of conversation over at his place.

  8. Hey Ian,

    I find myself signing up for RSS feeds and then never really using them. I go to the aggretor list you made a couple of times a week and scout out some stuff but mostly I just like to bounce from website to website. The RSS seems sterile somehow.
    I will also say that I have cut down on the number of politico blogs I used to read as the US stuff has worn me down past the boredom point so I have more time for the theatre stuff.

  9. ” . . . the US stuff has worn me down past the boredom point so I have more time for the theatre stuff.”

    I’m going to get this statement tattooed on my face.

  10. And I agree. RSS does seem to be a sterilizing agent. People spend a lot of energy figuring out how to present their content. Aggregators strip away many of those personal touches.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *