When Google announced the impending death of Reader I was already looking at alternatives with Feedly getting my vote thanks to their direct support for Google accounts - no messing about, you just logged in and it brought across all your Reader feeds and groupings.
But it wasn't just the ease of switching over; getting news from social media had two fundamental flaws for me:
- I never liked following curated accounts that just served up links without comment, and
- there were significant periods when I wouldn't be using social media.
If I follow someone in an online social environment it is because I'm interested in what they've got to say, the stories they can tell, and their opinions. If all someone does is link to the work of others I might as well cut out the middle man and go straight to the source.
Admittedly, I may not achieve the same range or breadth of items as the curator but I likely wouldn't have time to read to read them all anyway. And that also bothered me about curated accounts: either the person doing the curation did nothing but browsed the web all day (highly unlikely) or they were sharing items without reading them, without due consideration as well as without comment.
A dangerous combination.
The matter of time, and the very nature of social streams, meant that trying to follow news via the networks meant there was much I would miss and it's not easy to catch up.
For years I have worked in an industry that forbids the use of social networks and blocks their access via web proxies. I couldn't always have a window or tab open that I could constantly scan. Being busy with work (and with perception dictating that I should always look busy even when I wasn't) I couldn't exactly be pouring over my feeds on my phone.
Streams scroll past in minutes, perhaps seconds, so the amount of "content" missed in the space of hours is incredible. When you also consider that a social feed is exactly that - social - there is a lot of chat, often irrelevant or banal, served alongside the newsworthy. Despite the best of intentions it is not a focused means of consumption.
And this was all before the algorithms became ad targeting engines.
Subscribing to RSS feeds, however, means that you are presented with exactly what you ask for, from the blogs or sites you want to read, with the advantage it will all be queued up waiting for when you have the time to read it.
I have pruned and completely rebooted the feeds I follow on numerous occasions based on my (then) current interests but, even during times when I wasn't using social networks or blogging, I have always consumed my RSS feeds - my choice of what to read and at my own pace.