RSS is best for following a large number of infrequently updated sites: sites that you’d never remember to check every day because they only post occasionally, and that your social-network friends won’t reliably find or link to.
I currently subscribe to 100 feeds. This morning, I woke up to 6 unread items: one each from 6 of my feeds. Granted, it’s a Sunday on a holiday weekend, so this is a pretty low-activity day. On high-activity days, I usually wake up to about 25 items.
Everybody thinks everyone else uses the internet^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H RSS just like they do.
Everybody believes that everyone else should use the internet^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H RSS in the way they do it.
Granted, most RSS reader applications get RSS horribly wrong, and erroneously graft the email “inbox” pattern as the UI focus, instead of a river to be skimmed (with power to dive in deep, too). Google Reader is the best in a sorry lot, but mainly because Google sports an inherent advantage (even in the foolhardy sense they’ve implemented it thus far) with its ominous search capability. Read and unread item counts matter not a scintilla to me, as I care just for nimbleness in scanning “what’s new” in the subject matters of my choosing in a chronological manner.
I enjoy reading RSS on Google Reader. It has totally supplanted the time I used to allot to “reading the newspaper”. I know I’ve shared this before, but I keep pace with 2,600 subscriptions. No, I certainly do not read every item and probably only click through less than 10-20% of items. Not true for all sites, as the frequently updated sites get clicked at a 2-3% rate whereas treasured, infrequently updated sites have all their items read. But I don’t fret over unread items and even if I miss reading for a day or two, I feel no obligation to “catch up”, and instead, if I want to review items of interest I may have missed, I use the “Search” feature.
Oh, additionally, all of the mobile and/or tablet RSS reader applications are colossal failures, except for maybe Flipboard, which comes at RSS in a different tact, mainly via Twitter. The whole point of RSS is accelerating the pace at which web content is perused. Doing RSS with a subscription set count of less than a hundred is not much of an efficiency improvement. And the mobile and/or tablet offerings simply choke and sputter on a larger dataset (unless there are new, or updated, offerings I am unaware of). Also, Google Reader (as well as all the Google web products) suck massively on the mobile platforms — it’s why my iPad mostly collects dust and the MacBook Air (using Chrome/Chromium in full screen mode) shines — for the superior Google Reader experience.
No doubt, more information than you require ;)