I've tried to stay out of the whole "RSS is dead" thing. Really, I have. But just when I think people have stopped saying "RSS is dead," someone comes along and says it again, and everyone gets all worked up.
I mean, it's been over a year-and-a-half since Steve Gillmor's RSS is dead post. If something really is pushing up the daisies, surely we wouldn't have to keep pronouncing it dead all the time?
In all fairness, when I read Gillmor's original piece I didn't think he meant RSS was dead. That would be like saying "XML is dead" or "HTML is dead" – like RSS, these will be with us for a very long time because they're the plumbing behind so many critically important things. Steve may be a little loopy (word has it this was caused by listening to "Revolution #9" during a bad acid trip), but he's not crazy enough to rip up the plumbing.
Instead, I read it as though he was saying that RSS readers are dead. As in, products like FeedDemon. And I can see his point. Years ago we all hoped RSS readers would become mainstream, but that never happened. They're too oriented towards power users, require too much work to ensure you keep getting stuff you're interested in, and don't provide the social aspects of Twitter and Facebook (which IMO are the offspring of RSS readers).
But while it's true that dedicated RSS readers like FeedDemon didn't find mainstream acceptance, that doesn't mean they're dead, dying or even wounded. It just means their audience is smaller than it perhaps could've been. We're still talking about an audience of millions of people – not enough for a large company to consider a decent target market, but more than enough to enable smaller companies with the right products to stay alive for years to come.
And I have to point out that while RSS readers may have a niche audience, that audience includes the writers and editors of many of the web sites and blogs you visit. Yes, many of the people writing the latest crop of "RSS is dead" articles are using an RSS reader to keep up with the discussion. They don't really believe RSS is dead, but they do know that writing about it will bring more traffic to their sites. Which to me is a pretty sure sign that RSS is alive and well.