Felix Salmon fears so:
RSS has been dying for years — that’s why Google killed Reader. It was a lovely open format; it has sadly been replaced with proprietary feeds like the ones we get from Twitter and Facebook. That’s not an improvement, but it is reality. Google, with Reader, was really providing the life-support mechanism for RSS. Once Reader is gone, I fear that RSS won’t last much longer.
That would be a sad coda to the death of Aaron Swartz, who at the age of 14 was part of the team that invented RSS. The end of Google Reader, and RSS more generally, could also hurt blog traffic. Buzzfeed provides the above chart:
According to data from the BuzzFeed Network, a set of tracked partner sites that collectively have over 300 million users, Google Reader is still a significant source of traffic for news — and a much larger one than Google+. The above chart, created by BuzzFeed’s data team, represents data collected from August 2012 to [yesterday].