Blog Post

Using Twitter Lists Instead of Google Reader

In an interesting follow-up to Dawn’s post earlier this week, “Is Twitter Replacing the RSS Reader?” — which generated some fairly heated discussion in the comments — Robert Scoble has posted “Why I don’t use Google Reader anymore” in which he describes why he no longer uses Google Reader, preferring instead to rely solely on Twitter (and its new Lists feature) to keep up to date. Scoble uses Twitter’s new Lists feature (which Darrell wrote about earlier this month) to organize his Twitter stream and keep it easily digestible.

Helpfully, Scoble has provided links to four of his Twitter Lists as examples:

Twitter has only just started to roll out the Lists feature (it’s not enabled on my account, for example) so you might not be able to access them yet.

Personally, I still think that RSS readers are useful, but I know that I don’t check mine as religiously as I used to (maybe just once per day in the morning), as I know that I’ll discover anything really important through Twitter. I don’t think I’m ready to drop Google Reader (s goog) just yet, though.

How about you? Will Twitter Lists make you consider dumping your RSS reader?

16 Responses to “Using Twitter Lists Instead of Google Reader”

  1. Personally I think Twitter is a good way to discover new content – if I like it I might subscribe using Google Reader. I don’t use Google Reader to discover new content (via its Explore feature) as it not as convenient and organic as Twitter

  2. I dont think I’ll ever move to using Twitter exclusively as my source of content.


    Links coming into my stream are from a variety of sources. The noise makes it more difficult to consume content from the people I trust. URL Shorteners only add to the confusion – and prior to the click its hard to know if that content has come from them directly (their own blog) – or somewhere else. Bottom line, if I’m interested in what THEY have to say themselves, RSS provides that. Twitter on the flip side adds too much additional noise to their voice. If someone is on Twitter continually pimping their material, I tend to drop them like a hot potatoe. Its back to push verses pull marketing. Personally, I prefer to “pull” the stuff together myself.

    RSS Readers allow a level of organisation, and preservation that Twitter does not. Its a rolling road, whereas RSS readers provide a much better interface for returning to interesting content. Yes, you can bookmark it, but I personally tend to remember I seen something on X blog, and return to RSS to retrieve. I DONT however sit and press the more button on their Twitter stream.

    Just my two cents.

    • The point about URL shorteners is a good one, Paul — it does make it harder to track content in Twitter, esp when you are just skimming through the stream.

      Personally I think Twitter is a good way to discover new content – if I like it I might subscribe using Google Reader. I don’t use Google Reader to discover new content (via its Explore feature) as it not as convenient and organic as Twitter.

    • My biggest problem with twitter is the noise (as mentioned by Paul) but I must confess that I have not bothered yet to organization lists. Looking at the Scoble tech list example, one can see the problem. Lots of spam or filler but interspersed with real stories. Perhaps that beauty of twitter for this purpose is it’s 140 character limited. RSS feeds can be rather long to wade through manually.

  3. Although I’m looking forward to delving into the future possibilities Twitter Lists will afford, I’m with Annette, RSS readers help by being very searchable. In fact, I’ve found myself turning to Google Reader as apposed to to search for things before.

    I’m interested in how Twitter’s built in lists feature will differ from the many twitter clients out there that already help organize twits, such as tweetdeck and HootSuite. Many clients already offer pretty good search and monitoring tools.

  4. Good point, Annette. The RSS feed from twitter is very useful.

    I have given up trying to ‘keep up’ with evrything that might be going on or might have happened. I find that you can enter the stream almost at any point, quickly reorient yourself and wade into the conversation for as long as you can. So, not too concerned about saving for later. YMMV..


  5. Yes, but once lists are rolled out to everyone, will they be searchable as Google Reader is? Also, there are a lot of conferences I am not able to attend, like #WC09 and #140conf — I can create an RSS feed from twitter search and import to Google Reader to peruse at my leisure, without worrying about twitter not having the tweets available at a later date.

    I think I will stick with Google Reader.