I am a balky and generally irresponsible user of RSS feeds.
I know that they are revolutionary and wonderful. I know that they will bring information to you, instead of you having to go and seek out the information. I know that they are far more time efficient than clicking on individual sites to see if they have been updated.
Part of me quails at having to add everything that I currently read in granular form to a aggregator. I’m sure that if I just sat down and did it, it wouldn’t take nearly as long as I think it would, and I’d be happier for it. [Of course, this brings up the question I’ve asked here before: which reader, my friends? Ashley suggested Newsgator, and after using GoogleReader last semester for my class, I’m still digging it. But it’s been months! So, is there anything out there that’s new and world-shaking in the universe of aggregators?]
My larger objection to aggregation is this: I really miss the aesthetics of the page. Most of the feeds I read are blog feeds, which means that there’s a pretty tight correlation between form and content. Bloggers, like many web writers, are increasingly attentive to the ways that their page reflects their identities, their proclivities, the tone of their writing, etc. Hence, the development of templates and widgets in both Blogger and WordPress. While a reader will pick up pictures occur within the post itself, they neglect (by necessity) the other aesthetic and semiotic components of the site itself.
I wonder if the next wave of feeds will find a way to attach aesthetic elements to your feed that will appear in various readers?