Nathan Bransford, Author


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Partial RSS feeds: The Decision


Wow, thank you so much to everyone who weighed in on whether it would be cool/not cool to switch to partial RSS feeds. I hadn't by any means expected such a passionate response when I posted that!

I didn't do a formal tally of the responses, and I really should have done a poll, but the comments seemed to break down roughly evenly between "Go for it!" "Don't do it!" and "Indifferent!"

After reading all the comments (reminder that I really do read every single comment) and thinking about it over the weekend, I decided to keep the full RSS feeds for now. I was persuaded by the people who questioned whether switching to partial would really increase comments (if people are going to comment they're going to comment, if they're not they're not), and since I'm not trying to monetize the blog the extra pageviews would just be vanity.

There were also enough people who said they'd stop reading and unsubscribe to give me pause, although I do have to chuckle a bit at the people who couldn't! possibly! be bothered to click through under any circumstances. I'm not judging because I make decisions like that all the time, but it's kind of hilarious how we can no longer spare those extra two seconds. It reminds me of this.

I wouldn't rule out making this switch in the future and would experiment first, though probably only if I ever needed the pageviews here or added advertising.

Thanks again, everyone!






29 comments:

Mr. D said...

A wise man once said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Matthew MacNish said...

So you won't be taking your talents to partial RSS feeds?

Wyndes said...

It definitely discourages commenting, in my opinion, if only because you have a chance to lose the reader before they get the whole story. In my case, I wouldn't have minded if you made the switch, but I only click through on sites with partial feeds about...well, it depends on the site. Half the time or less, I'd say. That's sort of the whole point of a partial feed -- read a paragraph, see if you're interested, if you're not, stop reading. I'm a fast reader, though, so when I get the full feed I usually read the whole story, and sometimes the story catches me in a way the intro paragraph wouldn't have done. You really do have to write good leads to make a partial feed work, I think, and that seems like an awful lot of work unless you're really trying to drive traffic for some reason. (Incidentally, your new anti-spam captcha has demonstrated to me more than once that I'm a robot. Wow, it's hard to decipher. Now that's a real way to discourage comments!)

Anonymous said...

I would have been fine either way and it would't have stopped me from reading or commenting.

Since you mentioned this:

"and since I'm not trying to monetize the blog the extra pageviews would just be vanity."

I would love to see a post from a blogger about this topic. I only garner about an average of 8,000 hits a week on my blog, which is nothing. But I am curious about whether or not it is viable to monetize a blog.

elengrey.com said...

You're in my feed, Nathan, and I read you all the time. Sometimes, you end up in my Friday Feed Finds. :) I don't have a problem clicking through, if you choose to go that route. Thanks for the video today. I laughed out loud! Mr. G did, too. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Coming through to comment on this. It's not that I don't have "two extra seconds", it's that 99% of the time I am reading through google reader on my phone during snippets of time during my day. Often I only have a couple of minutes total to glance at my feed. If I have to go through extra work to read your blog post, or if getting through to your website on my phone takes a bit to load on a slow connection . . . I really don't have the time to read it. I move on. Reading on my phone is also the reason I don't comment. Takes too much time. I actually came to sit down at my laptop to type this.

Obviously in the grand scheme of things this is literally a non-issue, but since you asked, thought I would throw that out there.

Virginia said...

Thanks for sharing the link!

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

I hear you, like I said I make decisions like that too, but it is funny about what we now regard as too inconvenient to bother with.

Steven J. Wangsness said...

Since I have no clue about what RSS is or isn't, I applaud your decision. Whatever it means.

Katrina said...

Thank you!

Clara Rose said...

Thanks for sharing the link, laughter is like a good medicine!

So funny and true, this is an amazing time to be alive but we quickly forget how blessed we are by the technology we have.

Thanks for caring how we feel about your posts but ultimately you need to do what is right for you.

KarenG said...

I'm very glad you decided not to switch. I didn't weigh in then but will now because I'm relieved you chose not to. It might be different if you had really long posts, but since you keep them short enough to read quickly, having to link for the rest would be a pain for your followers.

Matt said...

I'm not sure if this was mentioned already...

A lot of times I am not able to click through, even if I'd wanted to. Such are the perils of the Workplace Internet Filter. It leaves my beloved Google Reader alone, but click-throughs are about 50-50 if I'll make it or not.

So far, your blog is not affected (hence why I'm able to leave this comment... while working, of course), but they seem to alter the deal on any whim (much like Darth Vader). I pray they do not alter it further.

Thus, it is not always a case of laziness or persnickety principle. Rather, it can be a rage-inducing, mouth-foaming, big-brother-is-watching blockage.

Vero said...

Thank you so much for the decision to stay with the full RSS. Also, thanks for reminding me of Louis C.K. I really needed that. :) Keep on doing the awesome things you do, Nathan. We're here. :)

Stoich91 said...

Haha Yes! I was shocked at the craziness of the comments, too. Are they paying for this blog? Is it your problem they're reading writing blogs in snippets on the job? And like, what are they going to do? Pack up and subscribe to a different blog with all the same cool info/personality/experience? I think not! Entitlement can be really amusing. I loved that vid, btw! It's a classic!

Jaimie said...

That video clip was so fuzzy! Ugh, I could barely even see them.

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

Love that video. Especially since I remember rotary-dial phones with no answering machine. Yes, as Conan said, "It's all true, kids!"

Emily Wenstrom said...

Cool. I can sympathize with that hunger for those page view numbers, but at the end of the day, I think you made the right call--easy, free access tends to rule out here in cyberspace! I am sure the generosity with your content will come back to you in the end.

Jen J. Danna said...

That video is inspired; thanks for sharing it. And from one of your Google Reader readers, thanks for deciding to leave things as they are. I know I definitely appreciate it! :)

Nancy Thompson said...

I clicked through the email to get to your site just so I could leave this comment: thanks for the clip! It was hilarious. Gotta show it to my 17yo.

AJMaguire said...

Thank you for the clip!

Sandra Stiles said...

I would have continued to follow you even if you had gone to partial RSS feeds. I read through all of it. Like Wyndes the full feed gives me more info. However, I'm one of those that has to click the "read more" or whatever it says to read the rest of a post. I follow several blogs that use Partial RSS feeds.

Nadia Lee said...

There were also enough people who said they'd stop reading and unsubscribe to give me pause, although I do have to chuckle a bit at the people who couldn't! possibly! be bothered to click through under any circumstances. I'm not judging because I make decisions like that all the time, but it's kind of hilarious how we can no longer spare those extra two seconds. It reminds me of this.


It's not that I can't bother to spare a second or two, but it's that I almost always read blogs using Google Reader on my iPod Touch. So many blogs aren't optimized for reading on phones that I don't bother with blogs that I can't read on Google Reader.

Nathan Bransford said...

nadia-

Mine is actually optimized for mobile, so you can click over in confidence.

Karen Prince said...

The Louis ck clip made my day. I got wrapped over the knuckled about 6 months back for sharing this same clip on my Facebook so am suffering from a confidence crisis over what constitutes copyright infringement and what doesn't. Please, please Nathan, I know you know this stuff. Could you post a blog about it?

Specifically; I grew up at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, before personal video cameras were around. Now I want to have a link from my author bio page to one of the awesome You Tube clips of the falls that are out there. Can I simply link or do I have to track down the people who posted to You Tube and ask permission?

Ethan R said...

I currently read your blog on a feed that I designed to be easiest on my eyes. I'm not much of a comment-y person, either. Having to click through to something that uses much higher contrast (dark grey on white) every time would be more of a discouragement to reading than just clicking through. It's not bad -- my eyes aren't bad enough that I have to read things at a specific contrast or I get headaches -- but it's one of those little quality-of-reading-life things.

Peter Dudley said...

Thanks for that link. Very funny. Even though I didn't have time to click over there, and youtube paused a couple of times and the quality of the video is crappy and the subtitles/captioning was way off.

Heather Marsten said...

I prefer the full - and often do not click to read the rest of a partial. What is worst is when the author doesn't even provide any information about the article.

BTW I don't always comment, but your blog is one that I look forward to receiving and I read your posts. I've learned a lot from your site.o

Will Overby said...

That clip was hilarious!!!

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