Which one will you give in to?
I’m feeling annoyed this morning, because I got another pop-up telling me that Google’s Reader is being discontinued. The pop-up was a reminder to back-up my data so I don’t lose it, and I’ve been ignoring it since Google made the announcement in mid-March.
Hear that clunking sound? That’s thousands of jaws dropping at the news that Google Reader is going to be retired come July 1, 2013. That whooshing sound is “Google Reader” shooting to the top of Twitter’s worldwide trends, even on a day when a new pope was picked.
And that giant “NOOOOOOOO” sound is the Internet’s reaction to Google’s most unpopular decision in — well, as far back as I can remember.
~ Mashable Op-Ed: Hey Google, We Still Love Reader
Force of RSS habit, its marvelously easy convenience, and the fact that I love reading blogs, warns me: This is one pop-up I really shouldn’t ignore. I have more than a dozen folders chock full of carefully curated RSS subscriptions, and allowing them to simply disappear would be like deciding to become an uninformed, anti-social, uncaringly dismissive recluse. And it would feel stupid. Google Reader doesn’t just capture the magic of article feed alerts for me: Those subscriptions represent old friends and new knowledge. They’re a listing of real people I do care about; people I admire and greatly respect. My subscriptions reflect my experiments, and the careful choices I have made.
So why am I still ignoring the heads up that I should change to another service? Feedly for instance: Over 3 million new users have joined Feedly since the announcement of the retirement of Google Reader.
I’ve ignored Google’s pop-up reminders for me, because I’ve been otherwise preoccupied with answering those questions the Force of Change will always impose. Loudly.
Feels like a teeter-totter.
As a blogger and publisher, I’ll be straight up with you: Google’s decision concerns me because I probably will lose some of you. I care about our relationship, even if you’re one of those silent readers I’ve never heard from — I know you take ALOHA action on your own. If you’ve been reading this site on Google Reader, I’m hoping you’ve decided what next to do, and how to keep up, for I don’t want to lose you— please consider the email subscription I offer with Feedburner, even if only temporarily so, as you grapple with your own Force of Habit or Force of Change deliberations.
I empathize with the grappling, and with the impulse to just let RSS go and not look back.
For as an RSS reader and long-time student of habits and habitual behaviors, I can’t help wondering… Is this one of those times to give in to the Force of Change instead? Do differently, and be new.
Would shaking up my habit, even this dramatically (i.e. without switching to another RSS service) actually be a good thing for me? What if there was no such thing as RSS? After all, I did live without it for most of my life… 2005 was not that long ago: What do I remember about my habits, in those times before it existed? How would I duplicate or replace the benefit of RSS, and also eliminate the new clutter?
Every habit has its clutter.
We can’t assume that our habits are streamlined, and that they’ve been perfected over time. Every habit can have its share of unhealthy dependence and automatic pilot (the bad kind) — we’ve got to assess them every so often, and this may be one of those times.
This feels like another ‘Changes in Reading’ episode. We’ve gone through something similar in learning to select and purchase ebooks because their authors have said goodbye to print. I still indulge in both: Why choose either/or, when you can have and/with both?
So I’ve been telling myself, “don’t think like a blogger, or even like an author this time. Think like a reader, for isn’t that the basic function of RSS? You maintain your friendships and other chosen relationships in other ways, so focus: What does READING do for you these days? What do you think it should do for you?”
What if I had to start over in handling my subscriptions? What’s the core I’d start with? Where are my highest priorities? What has the most relevance to me, and how does that relevance (and my readiness) tend to shift— what are the triggers connected to my WHY?
I have only used Google Reader on my laptop… what if I switched to RSS reading only on my iPad or on my iPhone: What attention would that pull from my other apps now there, and would that be a good thing?
“5 Google Reader alternatives: 1. read newspaper by campfire 2. total guesswork 3. make stuff up 4. some sort of hovercraft? 5. bababooey.” ~ Dave Itzkoff
“Guys I found the best Google Reader alternative: Throw all your computers into the river and come with me to start a new life in the North.” ~ Adrian Chen
“Google: I WILL PAY. Let me keep my Reader.” ~ Nicholas Jackson
What if the very act of subscribing was no longer an option? How would I otherwise be a devoted follower of a writer I admire? How would I newly learn from them? Would I reach out to them even more than I do now, and widen their net in my attentions, going fewer yet deeper? Would I make fewer assumptions, and ask more questions?
Without automated syndication, would my reading choices vary more, and be more serendipitous? Would I better learn to search for what I need to know?
I’ve always taken this advice to heart, from Tim Sanders, in Love is the Killer App:
“If you haven’t found some application within a few months of reading your books, question your aggregation methods… Visualize a discussion. If you’re not using books in your conversation and in your business strategy, review your selection process.”
One of the important things I do use RSS for, is sharing, so how would I continue to share, or better share, without it?
What other ways of reading have I neglected to learn or explore?
It is maddening, how one Force of Change question will lead to yet another one. Force of Habit however, tends to squelch the questions, and you’ve got to be willing to accept that silencing.
We resist the Force of Change, when Force of Habit is easier.
It’s been easy, these past two months, to rail against Google as making an uncaring, ‘bite the hand that feeds you’ kind of decision, purely motivated by profit (Google Reader is free). I thought their mantra was to “do no evil”— what happened to that?
It’s harder to question your own reaction, and to make subsequent decisions that are thought out completely and evaluated well. It’s hard to lose your force of habit, and succumb to the force of change, until you tell yourself, “Don’t succumb: Be better.”
Our reliable Aloha Ethos: Be true to your values.
Thank goodness for ‘IMI OLA being my value this month. It helps me so much, as I seek the highest form for my best life. Thank goodness for ‘IKE LOA, as the value-driven way I judge my reading, and my learning. Thank goodness for a better habit I have with focus, in doing the drill down.
And thank goodness for you, so I can better empathize with being the best reader, and the best user of what I read, that I can be.
So back to my questions, until I answer them, satisfied with my answers, na ‘Imi ola. The pohuehue which adorns this site, blooms with a singular focus on the day ahead, and with expectations of the future instead of the past. So can we.