It seems to me there is some confusion out there – and we are mixing up different topics & technologies.
As Fred points out, the current crop of RSS readers may be losing favor.
But RSS readers do not equal RSS. The reader is just one app built on RSS.
I don’t use Google Reader anymore. I was a one time addict but ultimately that format didn’t work for me. Yet, I rely on RSS every day.
Just a few examples:
1 – Boxee. I subscribe to a wide variety of content on Boxee via RSS. And a number of content owners publish to Boxee via RSS. They show up as an app and the user doesn’t even know about RSS. It works in the background. Nice and clean.
2 – New York Times. I read the NYT almost everyday and scan the tech blog links on the right side bar. I’m pretty sure they get there via RSS. If not, they should.
3 – Twitter. My firm, Spark Capital, uses RSS to syndicate news from our company website to @sparkcapital on Twitter.
4 – My blog. My blog has an RSS feed. It also uses RSS to grab content automatically. For example: every week, my Top 5 artist are displayed on my blog like this. How does it get there? Yep, RSS (and thx to @joelaz mighty fine yahoo pipe).
There are plenty of other examples but you get the idea.
I like Fred’s description of RSS:
It is a fundamental part of the Internet architecture and is used for all sorts of things. It’s the subscribe system of the internet and a ‘default function’ in the Internet operating system.
That’s exactly right.