The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

26 November 2006

No feed? Begone!

Is the feed an irreducible element of the blog? Wesley Fryer thinks so:

A website without an RSS or ATOM feed ... is not a blog! You can call it a blog by putting that title at the top, you can even update it every day, but if it doesn't have a feed — it's not a blog!

Called on this by a commenter, he backpedaled a little:

My feeling in not finding an RSS feed is really more one of regret, since that means I can't "pull" their information into my RSS aggregator (bloglines) to access their content more easily.

I think we can stipulate that the presence of a feed makes life easier for a growing number of readers, and since most blog software now includes templates for RSS and/or Atom feeds, I presume that the majority of blogs have a feed of some sort — even if the blogger has absolutely no idea about such things.

Then again, who doesn't have a feed? Mr Fryer mentions Media Literacy: Frank's Blog. Lileks doesn't have one; neither does Colby Cosh. Rocksnobs, which doesn't look like a blog, doesn't have one either. But that's all I can think of without going down through the entire blogroll.

Posted at 9:15 AM to Blogorrhea

Hey, if I have a feed, anybody can have one.

Then again, if I have a feed, it must be uncool.

Posted by: McGehee at 9:52 AM on 26 November 2006

I have two feeds, so I suppose I'm twice as uncool.

Posted by: CGHill at 2:15 PM on 26 November 2006

I didn't have a feed the first couple of years I had a blog--although according to Fryer's definition, that would mean I wasn't really a blogger until around two or three years ago.

Posted by: sya at 3:26 PM on 26 November 2006

The first feed here, I think, dates to early 2003.

Posted by: CGHill at 3:39 PM on 26 November 2006

A blog has more-or-less regular entries in a time-ordered format, usually "newest entry on top" style. That's it. You don't need a goddam "feed." Of course, most blog software comes with such things already embedded, but that doesn't mean that if you delete the little scriptette your blog magically becomes something else.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 8:18 PM on 26 November 2006

I read both you and Colby Cosh in my Bloglines feeds. Also, Andrea is correct.

Posted by: Dave Himrich at 8:41 PM on 26 November 2006

Surveys have consistently shown that the overwhelming majority of blog readers don't use feeds, despite the fact that most blogs have them. It's great to have a feed, and it's little trouble to install one. Exactly how that makes one a 'real' blog escapes me, however, especially since it makes no difference to the average reader.

I believe a 'real' blog has comments. Instapundit doesn't, and for that reason I don't consider it a blog. Anyone who reads it every day (like I do) will get the sense of it being more of a news service, or sometimes Glenn Reynolds' online diary.

Reynolds posts so often that dealing with comments would be impractical, and anyway the thing is so popular why on Earth should he change? But he does seem to recognize the yearning of his readers to interact. He occasionally publishes samples of email responses to his posts (certainly a form of 'comment'), and often invites readers to his wife's site, which does deal in comments.

Posted by: Mister Snitch! at 10:23 PM on 26 November 2006