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Twitter is replacing my RSS reader

I’ve been a pretty loyal Google Reader user for a while now. I started using it at around the same time I began writing online, and it has been my primary tool for the collecting and catching up on the news for the past few years. So how come I’ve barely touched GReader over the past few weeks?

Twitter is why (Twitterriffic for iPhone, if I have to name a main client).

It takes quite a while to get accustomed to Twitter as a news source because it can be overwhelming. It took time to find the right people to follow, to understand the online etiquette (although I still don’t care for #FF), and I’m still balancing how many people I should follow at any one time. In a way, RSS was easier to get into, since I knew almost exactly what I was dealing with: anything that goes up on a blog will go up on the RSS feed, simple as that. Folders in Google Reader also let me focus specifically on Apple-related sites when I just want to post a piece of news, and I still don’t feel that lists and dedicated site Twitter accounts function in quite the same way. However, the big take-home lesson with Twitter is that it’s just so much faster. I also feel like I spend a lot less time perusing my Twitter timeline than I do finding content and acting on it (i.e. reading or posting on it).

Overall, I think I like the way that Twitter has changed the way I consume online media. I used to sit and stare at Google Reader for hours at a time feeling guilty about unread counts and reading things in-line, but thanks to excellent apps like Instapaper and Twitterriffic, I’ve taken to curating (a word that MinimalMac loves) even more of my online content. I now make it a habit to star or Instapaper important links for later reading, and since I only save a fraction of what I see in my timeline, I never feel like I’m drowning in my own reading material.

The only potentially annoying thing about Twitter is its tendency to mix all sorts of personal stuff into the interesting tech stuff. This really used to bug me, since I think some people can get *far* too talkative on Twitter, but then I realized that most of the really groundbreaking stuff is eventually retweeted, anyway. So if I don’t like how a person expresses themselves, I just remove them from my Following list, knowing that if they ever say something ridiculously awesome, the ripples will probably make their way towards me as re-tweets.

It’s funny how much my thoughts on Twitter have shifted over the past year. It used to be a cute little service to play with just to see what all the fuss was about, but if it keeps up this pace, it might well replace Google Reader altogether in my life. The only thing I really need to do now is find a decent desktop Twitter client. I’ve tried all sorts of indie Mac clients, Adobe AIR apps, and web apps, but none of them quite seem to fit. I guess I’ll just have to wait until the New Twitter rollout finally gets to my account.

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