Information overload. We're all dealing with it. We were dealing with it when there were only a handful of publishers and producers. Now, everyone is a publisher and producer.
We used to be able to count on our RSS readers to filter out the noise and ensure that only the content we, specifically, chose would make its way on to our radars, but - for the most part - we're all just too overwhelmed (see the post below: This Conversation Is A Blip). So much great content, so little time and not enough real filters and aggregators to really sort the wheat from the chaff.
Who can we count on?
We can count on humans (or each other). We trust our "friends" (however deep or shallow you want to go on that word). Try this little and simple experiment: ignore your news reader for one full day and only pay attention to what people on Twitter are talking about, sharing and linking to. Then, go back and compare. Did you miss any huge stories by not following your reader, or did you find more different and engaging pieces of content through Twitter that you would have never experienced had you only been focused on your own, self-initiated, feeds?
Amazing isn't it?
The trick to making this even more powerful is to follow and engage with the "right people" - those who really do share similar values to you and those who are really engaging (and engaged) on Twitter. Odds are, you have tons of news feeds but don't have the appetite or time to filter and aggregate. Imagine not having to subscribe to every episode of a particular Podcast, but instead being informed by your own peer group which episodes were worth checking out (and which ones to ditch)? How much would that change the way you engage with content?
What's going on here?
Unlike the promise of virtual worlds (remember Second Life?), Twitter is doing a whole lot more than showing us the value of content in 140 characters or less. It's showing us much more than how each and every one of us can report (and create) the news. Twitter is not just a technology or communications platform. Twitter is actually a great human-powered RSS machine. You can follow the smartest people out there and follow what's on their radar.
Does this mean that Twitter is going to kill RSS?