Media Snacking: RSS Readers As Personal Space

A little while back, I wrote this post, wondering how much I should respect media snackers. But since then, I’ve been thinking I may have pulled the trigger too quickly on that one.

Because really, how can I not (or at least try)? After all…my name is Avin, and I am a media snacker.

RSS has been a godsend for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read, and do so as often as possible (latest: the world without us, very interesting exploration/thought experiment). But when it comes to online content, its truly amazing how much RSS lets us get through in a day. Sometimes I don’t know what the hell I did before it.

And lately, I’ve been thinking about whether I, as an admitted media snacker, feel respected by companies I deal with.

I don’t. Not necessarily disrespect in regards to length of content (since I’m kinda being disrespectful to fellow snackers with the length of this post), but disrespected in my media snacking experience itself. Case in point is my RSS reader. I treat my RSS space much differently than if I were reading the same content on the original website- be it news, blog posts, whatever. For me, my RSS reader feels more personal and worthy of more protection. I picked which feeds would appear, tagged and grouped them to my liking, and filtered out all the content I don’t want.

And yet, I’m still subjected to banner ads from companies I didn’t invite, pushing stuff on me I didn’t ask to see.

Honestly, if I saw those same banner ads on the original site, I probably wouldn’t think twice about it (note: that’s still not a good thing).

But when they pop up in my reader, it seems like an invasion of privacy, an invasion on the snacking I’m trying to do. Often times, it dissuades me from even wanting to read the story (or stay on that sites feed).

Working in this business, it can be quite disheartening to see opportunities to participate in conversation with people routinely overlooked in favor of interrupting. Instead, why not provide some interesting content which people would want to add to their own RSS feeds? Or somehow, make the feed browsing experience better?

Thoughts from fellow RSS enthusiasts? Do you feel the same kind of privacy invasion when ads interrupt your reader? Any examples of companies/agencies (yours or others) that have found a better way? Care to share how you’ve gotten clients to go in a different direction?