Jeffrey Mann

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Jeffrey Mann
Research VP
14 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Jeffrey Mann is a research vice president for collaboration and social software at Gartner Research. Mr. Mann focuses on social software, team workspaces, the collaboration market and knowledge management. Read Full Bio

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Declaring Things Dead Is So Dead

by Jeffrey Mann  |  May 7, 2009  |  6 Comments

Every couple weeks, some industry observer or blogger declares that something that most people know well is dead, and generates a lot of page hits. Whether it’s the iPhone, Microsoft, the mainframe, or Paul, this is a popular meme.

imageMore power to them, but I find it getting kind of old. Technological stuff rarely completely disappears, and takes a very long time to do so when it does. I still am surprised when I talk to people waiting for a fax. I haven’t gotten a fax in years, but many salespeople still keep one ear cocked for the sound of a signed contract rolling in. I had a fax number on my business card for awhile, but had no idea how I would actually receive it if anyone ever sent me one. Some industries still even use telexes.

The latest victim of the X is Dead meme is RSS. Steve Glimor from TechCrunch IT writes that RSS is being replaced by services like Twitter, Facebook and Friendfeed. His position is echoed by other writers like Jemima Kiss of the Guardian.

I can certainly see how the context and recommendations provided by these services are more useful than the indiscriminate feeds that come in through an RSS reader. if someone retweets a link, I am more likely to be interested in it, especially if I know and respect the person retweeting. An RSS reader just scoops up everything that comes from a particular feed. I do indeed spend far less time browsing posts through Google Reader since I started using Twitter, but I suspect that has as much to do with needing to get work done as anything else.

I can’t see RSS really dying any time soon, however. Rather than dying in a sudden expiring fit, most technologies just get other stuff layered on top. We continue to use them, at least for awhile, but in different ways. RSS will continue as the best way to monitor what we know we must read; as the best way to download a bunch of posts to read while in a plane or on the train; to track what is happening in internal applications and other software that publishes using RSS. Someone clever will mashup an RSS reader and a Twitter client to combine their benefits.

RSS might be coughing a little bit, but it ain’t dead yet.

I will be talking about some of the new ways to communicate that are getting layered on top of what you’ve already got at Portal, Content and Collaboration conference in Orlando, Florida June 8-10.


Category: microblogging social software Twitter     Tags: , , ,

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Thorsten Zoerner   May 7, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I think RSS will have the same future as podcasts… 2 years from now no onle will know that they use RSS – Tools like will make consuming feeds seemless to the user.

  • 2 Jemima Kiss   May 7, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I’d be the first to agree that dismissing anything as ‘dead’ is a lazy and rather boring editorial device that simplifies a trend. But I have to say my post was not dismissing as ‘dead’ – it was a far more nuanced (I hope) piece on how the use of Twitter to follow news has impacted RSS readers – *not* RSS itself.

    That’s a mischaracterisation, and just as annoying as the ‘X is dead’ cliche…

  • 3 axicom cohn&wolfe   May 8, 2009 at 10:49 am

    […] post from Jeffrey Mann at Gartner on his frustration with blogger’s predicting the death of a major […]

  • 4 Nur 8% nutzen RSS - und wieviele nutzen darauf basierende Dienste? | Banedon's Cyber-Junk   May 19, 2009 at 7:25 am

    […] nicht einmal was RSS ist. Ist die Zeit für RSS gekommen? So meint es zumindest TechCrunch IT und Gartner kontert, dass man nicht sofort alles zu Grabe tragen […]

  • 5 Doug Laney   August 27, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Starting a movement to rename it “The Terminally Ill Sea.”

    Seriously, great post JM.

  • 6 New Years Anti-Resolutions for 2011   January 5, 2011 at 11:56 am

    […] saying things are dead. I thought that I dealt with this in a blog post last year, but it seems some people weren’t listening. Every week I read somewhere that Twitter […]

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