I came across RRS feed in the early 2000's through great Indie apps on the Mac like Net News Wire and others. It was a great was to aggregate all the news for hundreds, and when things got really crazy more than a thousand sites into a single convenient location. You could sync all the read articles, star and favorite ones you wanted to keep around, and share via IRC or AIM the ones you thought your friends should see, or even email something to family member or co-worker. It was a deep well of knowledge, and easy to flip through a couple times a day and stay in the know. This same publish and subscribe model of RSS is the underpinning to podcasts, which makes it beyond the reach of a single company, but also makes discovery a bit of a challenge.
You could set your watch to the regular occurance to which someone will announce that RSS is dead, today it just happened to be MotherBoard with an article, The Rise and Demise of RSS . With quotes like -
The future once looked so bright for RSS. What happened?
In Author, Sinclair Target's, defense the article is a well written history as it played out from the 90's up til today. And I think is correct, that RSS isn't consumer friendly or easy to understand. But I don't think it needs to be. The gritty details of how SMS isn't something consumers pour over, they just send their messages and have a certain level of expectations in regards to what will happen on the other end. RSS powers podcasts subscriptions, and regular people find, listen to, and are coming to the medium in big numbers than ever!
Point is RSS isn't every exciting to most people. The question I'd pose is, what is exciting that you can do with a feature powered by RSS ?