Social Killed The Reader Star

To succeed as a content producer or as a content consumption product, embracing and mastering social proof and sharing is critical. Ignore these forces at your peril. Google Reader wasnt the first to fall at the hands of social distribution nor will it be the last.

via Social Proof: The Most Formidable Force Driving Content | LinkedIn.

As an incessant user of Google Reader since its inception, I am disappointed to hear of its demise. So are a lot of other people. Who even use it for work, not just stupid/funny/cat pictures (also a significant use case for me).

From a product leadership perspective, former Google Reader product manager Brian Shih has an interesting post on Quora regarding this. So did creator Chris Wetherall.

I get Marco Arment’s thinking that this may ultimately be a good thing, providing new APIs and alternate means of content consumption. From a market demand perspective, if there’s a group of people whose needs are not being met, smart product people will create solutions for that.

I also get that curating content with a social layer has become preferable / more natural to most people – e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Techmeme, etc.

That said, sometimes  you just want the uncensored goods and you don’t need or want the hive mind to parse it for you. That selection process is completely based on your interests and decisions, and to my understanding, we haven’t yet gotten a perfect external solution for that. Google Reader fit that need for me – content I’m interested in, deciding what is worth further attention within that.

Give the option to tune in or out of sources of information as they wish, and don’t tell people what they should be interested in if it’s not the same as everyone else or you’re not smart enough to nail it perfectly.

Maybe they’ll fold Google Reader into Google Glasses for Google Reading Glasses.

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