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Google Reader’s Demise is Irrelevant for Blogs

Authors: Jay Baer Jay Baer
Posted Under: Content Marketing
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In this edition of The Baer Facts, I talk with Kyle Lacy of ExactTarget about the demise of Google Reader and how it’s overblown.

Back From Australia

Jay Baer plus WallabyYes, we’re returning to a weekly schedule of Baer Facts videos. I had to miss a couple weeks while doing a series of speaking engagements in Sydney that I parlayed into a family vacation. Here’s photographic evidence: me feeding a wallaby. Also, as I mentioned in the video, do NOT call it a koala “bear.” If overheard by an Australian zookeeper, you will be reprimanded and forced to endure a 15-minute lesson on the difference between bears and marsupials. You’ve been warned.

Google Reader is Dead and I Shrug My Shoulders

I came back from Down Under to discover that Google Reader is being discontinued by Google. Like many/most long-time social media users and bloggers, there was a time when Google Reader was one of the very most important pieces of software I used. I had hundreds of blog subscriptions, and checked Reader multiple times per day for inspiration, to find interesting posts to Tweet, and to provoke myself to comment on the work of other bloggers.

But those days are long gone.

I haven’t opened Google Reader in at least two years, and I know I’m not alone. Today, I use Twitter, Newsle, Linkedin and other sources to bubble up interesting content hither and yon. The Convince & Convert team uses Addvocate (#investor) to make sure we all see particularly worthwhile content, and to help propagate our daily One Social Thing email newsletter that goes out to 20,000+ marketers.

Google Reader was once a convenient and linear way to find blogs and blog posts. But the explosion of blog content (and utter lack of product enhancements from Google) made it unwieldy. So, most of us shelved it in favor of less linear, but more convenient, methods of monitoring and exploration.

I don’t have any data on this other than anecdotal, and I’d love to hear your personal stories in the comments. But, I’ll bet the vast majority of us visit more blogs today than ever before, but read each of them less consistently. My personal blogging consumption has moved from purposefully choosing off the menu to grazing the information buffet. How about you?

The real issue with the demise of Reader is what it says about Google, and whether it impacts our trust in the company going forward (outstanding post about that on The Economist).

Once Again, Email Wins

Back in the day, I used to “star” in Google Reader posts or blogs that I really liked. Today, for the handful of blogs (approximately 25) that I absolutely, positively do not want to miss, I make certain I see their content not by monitoring them on Twitter, but by subscribing to the blog via email. Once again, email – that most homely of old-skool technologies – proves to be indispensable because it is reliable and orderly in ways that social streams are not.

People are saying that Google Reader being shuttered is a nail in the coffin of blogging in general. I disagree entirely. If you love content, you’ll subscribe to content. Via email. Via social. Via mail. If the content is good enough, people will raise their hands to get it, period. It’s not about the software, it’s about relevancy, and it will always be so.

Sure, the demise of Google Reader may be the end of an era, but for me it was an era that ended a long time ago. And for you?

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