Full Text vs Partial Text It Isn’t The Feed But The Reader’s Interface That Matters

Scoble was always one of the staunchest proponents of full-text RSS feeds out there. Back when I was a pro-blogger trying to crank out lots of posts in a day (or hour), I agreed with him. It was much more helpful (and better for my custom, local feed searches) if the feeds were full-text. I wasn’t as hard core as Scoble and others by not subscribing or unsubscribing to partial text feeds, but I preferred them. Sounds like Scoble has changed his tune of late though:

In 2006 I wrote that I wouldn’t use any news aggregator or feeds that aren’t full text. I was wrong.

See, I often do get it wrong. Or, even if I’m right today, I can be proven wrong tomorrow by market changes.

What changed since 2006?

1. I have moved about 70% of my reading behavior to iPhone and other Smart Phone devices. Why does that matter? Well, on such a small screen having full text is far less desirable than if I use my 27-inch iMac.

[From I was wrong about full-text feeds]

I have to say I think Scoble is missing the whole point here. It isn’t the feed that takes up the screen real estate, it’s the interface that the reader has. For a small screen I’d expect to get the headline and maybe a few lines of text from the feed regardless of whether it was full or partial text. If I was interested in the article, I’d click through or flag it or something. I used to read feeds on my BlackBerry, but I stopped and not because of the small screen (though that didn’t help), it was because the BlackBerry browser sucks and it disconnected me from my RSS workflow. Reading an awesome post on my Berry only means that I have to do something to get in on my laptop for later. I email it, favourite it, something it, but I have to do something to get that item to my machine for later.

Scoble also asks if people are using Twitter more vs RSS Readers. I have to say that I was but am now missing my 900+ feeds I once had. I’m not subscribing like mad to feeds again. Why? Because while I do follow a lot of people on Twitter and a lot of sites that send their latest posts out through Twitter, I feel like I’m not getting the breadth that I used to. It’s the esoteric stuff. The little heard, but extremely sharp voices that you find with a wide catchment.

The whole debate about full or partial feeds is better served by discussing better interfaces. Let’s look at better ways of reading, sorting, and sourcing RSS feeds. My combo of NetNewsWire and Feedly is serving me well … right now. I’m always on the look out for the next iteration that will let me gather more and more information. Yes, the neural implant is on my wish list for the future. Just hook me up to the stream baby.

So, Robert … which iPhone RSS reader are you using that makes you long for partial feeds?

Comments

  1. says

    I use Tweetie. I gotta tell you, I have 16,000+ people and feeds aimed at me. I don’t agree with you on the breadth anymore. I used to. Not anymore.

    I don’t miss my older reader anymore. It’s slow, bloated, and outdated and Twitter brings me the same feeds, albeit faster.

    • says

      Hey Robert,
      I agree that Twitter has a lot of potential for info gathering, and I get a lot out of it, I just haven’t found a good way to pull the wheat from the chaff.
      The breadth that I get from RSS is essential as well.

      I think the evolution of our data streams will get to a point where we can get information from both seamlessly.

      For mobile RSS readers , still I think there are good ones, it’s just the interface that might be problematic for you.

      I’ve heard that Tweetie is great, right now TweetDeck and ÜberTwitter are my tools of choice (for Twitter) and NetNewsWire on my MBP.

  2. says

    I use Tweetie. I gotta tell you, I have 16,000+ people and feeds aimed at me. I don’t agree with you on the breadth anymore. I used to. Not anymore.

    I don’t miss my older reader anymore. It’s slow, bloated, and outdated and Twitter brings me the same feeds, albeit faster.

    • says

      Hey Robert,
      I agree that Twitter has a lot of potential for info gathering, and I get a lot out of it, I just haven’t found a good way to pull the wheat from the chaff.
      The breadth that I get from RSS is essential as well.

      I think the evolution of our data streams will get to a point where we can get information from both seamlessly.

      For mobile RSS readers , still I think there are good ones, it’s just the interface that might be problematic for you.

      I’ve heard that Tweetie is great, right now TweetDeck and ÜberTwitter are my tools of choice (for Twitter) and NetNewsWire on my MBP.

  3. says

    I use Newsreader app for iPhone for my RSS, and the partial-feeds irritate the crap out of me – I don’t want to have to leave the reader to see if I want the rest of the article!

  4. says

    I use Newsreader app for iPhone for my RSS, and the partial-feeds irritate the crap out of me – I don’t want to have to leave the reader to see if I want the rest of the article!

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