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If You Didn’t Think RSS Was Dead Before, Facebook Just Killed it, Completely

At Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference this year, with announcements from robots, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and more I finally feel as though I’m in the future. I’ll try to cover more of my overall thoughts later on the conference, including a review of the Galaxy VR and Samsung Galaxy S6 that they gave out at the conference that I’ll review over on my Social Geek gadgets blog (you can see the unboxing here: https://www.facebook.com/JesseStay/videos/10156815617030113/). That aside, among all their announcements there was one that stood out to me: Facebook is launching their “save button” for saving articles for reading later to allow websites all over the internet to allow saving, right on Facebook. This, in my not so humble opinion, effectively kills RSS, as a consumer blog and article consumption medium, once and for all.

I wrote way back in 2012 after Google killed their Google Reader product that RSS was dying (despite others arguing to the contrary), and warned bloggers and businesses that they should be finding other mediums, such as email, to replace that consumption format and ensure continued traffic and readership to their blogs. Sure enough, if you read Google trends, a natural interest in RSS fell by at least 50% back in 2013. People simply aren’t using RSS readers any more, and I’d argue if you even mention “RSS” people won’t even know what you’re talking about. RSS isn’t social. You can’t reply via RSS. You can’t share via RSS. Only social is social and Facebook just opened that (using “open” very loosely) to the entire web.

With Facebook’s new Save Button for the web businesses can now copy and paste simple code into their articles and allow those articles to be saved to Facebook for the user to read later. Now users can read all their favorite articles in one place in an environment over 1 billion people are already familiar with: Facebook. To add to that, Facebook launched Instant Articles, allowing publishers all over the web to format their articles for users to read right inside Facebook. Users in essence never have to leave Facebook to read your blog. Get them to like your page, perhaps mark it as “See First” or a favorite or add it to a list, and now when they see your articles in their feed they can click on the articles and click the “Save” button to save it for reading later. That pretty much resolves most of the functionality of an RSS reader!

With the death of Google Reader there really wasn’t a very solid solution for replacing RSS. Getting users to subscribe via email, while somewhat effective, meant your articles would bombard their email inbox. And the remaining RSS solutions simply weren’t near as widespread as a Google product. As social began to take over people began to get used to consuming curated content rather than everything at once.

I feel the Save button, especially with Instant Articles, resolves all that – one place, in a familiar curated news feed, for your readers to consume content. If you’re not already considering this, you should start looking at integrating the Save buttons into your own website and turning on Instant Articles. For instant articles, just search from “Instant Articles” in the WordPress plugin directory. For Save button, see the links above and you can get code to integrate into your website.