Do RSS feeds have an impact on SEO? Would Google see this as duplicate content in any way?
Google won’t consider an RSS feed as duplicate content, no. It may help it to index new pages on your site, but it isn’t a biggie for SEO.
RSS feeds helps in publishing frequently updated content… Feeds updates your news, blog entries, video, audio etc.
It does help in improving SERP rankings, as it updates your content automatically without any manual effort. Also, RSS feeds pings the search engines on every update so that it will rank your updated content.
I don’t think Google will count is as duplicate content… because RSS updates usually shows title (with a short description) of the content
Is it just me, or do RSS feeds detract the user from a website?
It depends how you run them. The way I do it, and the way most feeds I subscribe to do it, is that any article in the RSS feed just has a title, short teaser and then a link to the main article on the website. So people still have to click through to the website, but it means they get the latest news as it comes in without having to keep checking back on the homepage every day or two to see if there’s anything new to read, because few people are going to have the patience and tenacity to keep that up for long.