January 3, 2020

Why RSS still matters

Dieter Bohn brought up this article he authored back in 2013 & I agree it still holds up now. Writing for The Verge:

RSS is built so deeply into the bones of so many websites and web services that we take it for granted. Your Tumblrs and your YouTube users and your Flickr friends and your favorite websites and blogs all usually offer RSS, automatically, with very little effort from their developers. It matters for the web that websites have a structured way to send their data out to apps and to other websites. Many of the apps that are suggested as a viable replacement for Google Reader — Flipboard comes to mind — pull just as much from RSS as they do from social feeds. More importantly, they pull from RSS freely, but they pull from Facebook and Twitter only because those companies let them.

RSS is a big part of my news flow. I receive stories from sources I choose, in chronological order, and without being filtered out by an algorithm.

If RSS interests you, I’ll leave you with a few suggestions.

In many cases, I still find it useful to use a service. If you don’t mind paying $5/mo., check out Feedbin. It offers a ton of flexibility, from tagging feeds to filtering out keywords (I didn’t have to see any Royal Wedding articles for example). You can even follow Twitter accounts on Feedbin, which will include full articles if a link is provided. But, I understand free is still the right price for a lot of people. If that’s you, check out Feedly for a true RSS experience, or Flipboard which also pulls from RSS feeds. With this in mind, a couple of apps are starting to use iCloud syncing for feeds, which I’ll mention in a minute.

You can read your feeds from a browser on either desktop or mobile, but I still find an app is the best way to go. My personal current favorite on both Mac and iOS is Reeder 4. It has a great layout and typography and behaves the same on both platforms. It also allows for iCloud syncing of articles if you don’t want to use a service.

A few other apps I’ll suggest include:

I’ve always felt like RSS is a better way to consume news over a social media silo. Hopefully, I’ve encouraged a few people to look into RSS a little more.