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WordPress.com Launches Subscriptions

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September 12th, 2010
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WordPress, WordPress News, WordPress Tools

WordPress.com has launched Subscriptions, a new web-based feed aggregator for WordPress.com users.

While feeds from WordPress.com blogs can easily be subscribed to by clicking “Subscribe” in the admin bar, you can add any feed by selecting “Manage Blog Subscriptions” under the new Subscriptions tab on the WordPress.com home screen. The features of Subscriptions are firmly rooted in WordPress.com, including the ability to immediately like or reblog a post from the Subscriptions tab and receive new posts from WordPress.com blogs via email and Jabber instant messaging.

In related and ironic news, Bloglines (one of the first web-based feed aggregators) will be closing its doors on October 1st, citing, “Being locked in an RSS reader makes less and less sense to people as Twitter and Facebook dominate real-time information flow. Today RSS is the enabling technology – the infrastructure, the delivery system. RSS is a means to an end, not a consumer experience in and of itself. As a result, RSS aggregator usage has slowed significantly, and Bloglines isn’t the only service to feel the impact.”

Though the thought of following my favorite blogs through Twitter is compelling, I still keep a very active Google Reader account because I’d rather keep my daily readings separate from my social networks.

Do you still use a feed aggregator, or do you rely on your social networks for news? What is your opinion of Subscriptions? Will its deep integration with WordPress.com make it one of the site’s most popular features, or will it eventually fall to the same fate as Bloglines?

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  1. Patrick D. (9 comments.) says:

    I use Google Reader. One reason is because I like to have a blogroll on my site for sites I follow and the export feature in Google Readers make getting that blogroll out a snap.

  2. rick@rickety (10 comments.) says:

    I use Google Reader. I see friends accessing websites regularly and I tell them to use a feed reader. Surprising, they don’t seem to understand the concept.

  3. Ipstenu says:

    I use google easer to keep tabs on all the feeds I read. Without it, I shudder to think about my email inbox. Google reader is much easier for passive news, stuff I don’t read in real time, but do want to read eventually. Like a low key read it later. I would miss it horribly!

  4. Rob O. (2 comments.) says:

    I like Twitter & Facebook, but those streams move much too quickly and I’d miss out on a lot of new posts on my favorite sites if I only relied upon those sources. To me, using social networks to keep up with the latest blog posts seems like a step backwards.

    I’m not giving up my Google Reader anytime soon.

  5. Otto (215 comments.) says:

    You can take my Reader when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

  6. Will (1 comments.) says:

    Ironic is right. I read the notice on ask.com’s blog, and was immediately scratching my head. Then I imported my feeds right into Google Reader. I also want my feeds separate from my social networks amd don’t see that ever changing. I’ll be checking out WordPress Subscriptions for sure as I’m apparently in the market for a new aggregator….

  7. Tapeleg (8 comments.) says:

    I love my RSS reader. I use NetNewsWire to read my feeds. It’s just the best way for me, and eliminates the advertising and garbage from most sites. I don’t want RSS readers to go away.

    Getting my feeds through twitter? No thanks. Twitter is already too deep in the hands of marketers.

  8. Peter says:

    I just hope that this whole social media crap that is swallowing everything vanishes from the face of the earth eventually. Reading feeds through frigging twitter? No, thanks.

    • Danny Brown (9 comments.) says:

      You do realize that blogging itself is part of “this whole social media crap”, right? ;-)

      Much of the “problem” with RSS is education on what it actually is/does. Most folks know what email is; not many know what RSS is.

      Is Twitter and Facebook (and similar) the answer? Probably not; but they are other ways that folks understand better than RSS, and that’s probably why they’re used as much.

  9. that girl again (41 comments.) says:

    I reluctantly switched from bloglines to Google Reader some time ago; I preferred the bloglines interface but the site was obviously dying and it’s no surprise that they’ve finally pulled the plug. Bloglines died because Ask lost interest in it and people will desert any site if it’s neglected and no longer works properly, not because of some global anti-RSS trend.

    I thought that the subscriptions feature only allowed you to subscribe to wordpress.com blogs, but no, you’re right and apparently you can also get updates from sites outside the walled garden. I have no idea why Automattic didn’t bother pointing this out in the announcement as it’s basically the only thing which makes it a new feature (internal subscription has been around for ages) and judging from comments on the post I’m obviously not the only one who was misled. Still, without import/export it’s fundamentally useless to anyone but the noobs they’re targeting.

  10. Johnboy Walton says:

    I loves me my RSS Feeds

  11. John says:

    I’d love to find a native app reader that doesn’t suck. Pushing everything through another webapp is the last thing I want, whether that’s Google Reader (thanks but Google knows too much about me already), or some social network.

    This industry is to enamored of its own hype and buzz, and doesn’t listen to users.

  12. Dave Starr (2 comments.) says:

    Sorry to see any venture go under, and Bloglines certainly provided a lot of service to a lot of people over the years, but they, like several others, could never ‘catch on’ to the simple interface of Google Reader.

    I noted above a comment about friends not ‘understand’ the RSS concept. Education and promotion is still a big problem in spreading RSS to the world as usefully as it might be.

    But for me? Twitter and the other “steaming Farmville-style services are fine for those who like them, but to publish real articles and exchange actual thoughts? Not in my book.

  13. Milan (17 comments.) says:

    I am definitely going to miss BlogLines. It is very useful for keeping track of sites that update at unspecified times, and I prefer the user interface it has to that of Google Reader.

  14. Ed Fisher (1 comments.) says:

    I like Feedly (http://feedly.com) for reading RSS subscriptions, and I too like to keep my daily reads separate from Twitter feeds.

  15. Steve S. says:

    I agree with Rob O. about the information flow of sites like Twitter just does not lend itself to the way I like to work. It seems that Google Reader dominates in this area, but I may have to take a look at some of the other tools mentioned here.

    For me, I am more and more on the lookout for trusted sources of consolidated or “curated” information in my areas of interest. For those areas where I have been able to identify these sources, I find it saves so much time to let someone else do the first pass.

    Thankfully, doing some minor cross-checking between Reader and these curated collections, I find that I am not really missing anything either. Gives you confidence that you can move “one level higher” and still remain informed and/or entertained.

  16. Eric Davis (1 comments.) says:

    I use Google Reader too. I can see WordPress.com’s point about making it easier to subscribe to RSS and other feeds though. In order to understand how Reader works you need to be familiar with how RSS works. Some people might not want to learn that and just want to keep track of a few blogs inside their wordpress.com blog.



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