Mark Llobrera

Laura Kalbag: “How to Read RSS in 2020”

This was a good, short overview of RSS, some RSS clients, and feed services. I like how Laura emphasizes the way that RSS cedes the control to the user:

You get to choose what you subscribe to in your feed reader, and the order in which the posts show up. You might prefer to read the oldest posts first, or the newest. You might group your feeds by topic or another priority. You are not subjected to the “algorithmic feed” of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, where they choose the order for you. You won’t miss your friends’ posts because the algorithm decided to suppress them, and you are not forced to endure ads disguised as content (unless a feed you subscribe to includes ads inside their posts).

This is purely anecdotal but it seems like when Google killed Reader, it ended many folks’ use of RSS (well, that and the dominance of platforms like Twitter and Facebook). The last couple of years I’ve seen people come back to publishing on their own websites, which has been encouraging. I wonder, though, whether the folks doing this are people who were around for blogging’s heyday, or if there’s younger people picking up the indieweb spirit.

As for my own RSS usage: I’m definitely switching to Feedbin (also recommended by my friend Ethan) after using Feedly for years. I like the way it grabs full articles, not just excerpts, and that it’s explicitly committed to users’ privacy. That’s worth the minimal subscription fee to me.