Over two years later, email is still very much alive… But the public at large either doesn’t care about RSS, or doesn’t know they’re using it (a la My Yahoo, etc).
So, I’ll say it… RSS will NEVER go mainstream.
Try explaining RSS or news feeds to someone outside of the tech field. Yeah, it’s not going to happen. Yet, RSS has become the defacto standard of every Web site on the planet.
The RSS feed is the data. It is the content which people enjoy but it’s not a format which makes sense to anyone.
This is part of the reason why I got into widgets. The face of the RSS feed is the widget. In the next 2 years, every Web site, every piece of Web content, and every piece of online functionality will be broken apart into useful components (or widgets) that users can take and do what they want with.