Sunday, May 6, 2012

Why I will always love RSS

There has been a lot of noise in the tech community earlier this year about how RSS is supposedly having one foot in the grave. If that would be even remotely true, I hope it dies with its boots on. The herald would be browsers and social networking sites killing or hiding support for RSS. While that may be true, their motives shouldn't rig our opinions.

RSS has never worked out for the regular consumer, not directly anyways. So I get why browsers are dropping support for it, I am not even disappointed. Most popular social networks have enough traction by now so that they can safely start fencing their gardens with the purpose of bringing more money in. Also reasonable.

What startles me is when peers start advertising the death of RSS. The explanations I hear are somewhere along the lines of "Why use RSS? I count on the people I follow on Twitter to share links to good information", or similarly "I just check Hacker News a few times a day to read up on the latest news". I strongly believe the contemporary fetish of liking and sharing cheapens the way we consume our information. Don't get me wrong, I do see value in community driven content, but there's also a lot of dirt and sensationalism. Some days it feels like I'm reading the front page of a cheap tabloid.

I used to subscribe to a bunch of feeds, but today I'm pickier; I subscribe to authors who share things I care about and who inspire me in some way. By subscribing to their feed, I'm not missing a single update. This forces me to absorb it all, even though most of their content doesn't go viral. This liberates me from feeling the urge to be connected all the friggin' time, plus more importantly, there is a gold mine of wisdom to be found in the non-controversial content out there.

I love RSS. It just works, and enables me to learn so much, without having to be connected constantly or having to rely on others to tell me what to consume.

Subscribe to my RSS feed here.

25 comments:

  1. Likewise, I would not abandon RSS.

    It will remain as one of my methods of news consumption.

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  2. I found this through RSS and completely agree. Also, HN only makes sense to me via RSS.

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  3. If it weren't for RSS I would never have seen this post or found your blog. That's one of many reasons I love it. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

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  4. Agreed II. Plus: RSS allows better organization and easier access to archives. Contrary to the (often) messy stream on social media.

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  5. I have discovered.the best parts of the interwebs solely through RSS.

    Those who avoid RSS are allowing others to curate their "internet" for them and are missing out on a whole world of opportunity and enlightenment:)

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  6. aaaaaaaaaaandddddddd IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII, Will alwaaaays LOOOOOOVE Yooooooou!

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    1. I tried to find a spot in the text to put a reference to that song, but I failed ;)

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  7. I have to have at least one place where I am the curator.
    For me, that place is Google Reader.

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  8. Also true for me. RSS is the only way to aggregate everything in one spot, easily filter through the junk, discover great and truly stay current with things that matter.

    On a side note: I hate Twitter. It just doesn't make sense to me. I once in while browse over twitter feeds of friends just out of curiosity, and its full of crap. Who cares if you just had a great cup of coffee? Twitter has become the "feel good about yourself, pretend you are a celebrity/friends with a celebrity" network. The only twitter feeds I follow are Conan Obrien (funny) and Asteroid Watch (interesting), and since I don't have a twitter account, I FOLLOW THEM USING RSS!!

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  9. This is exactly what I feel about RSS.

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  10. You are right. I hope RSS doesn't disappear.

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  11. The emerging connected TV platforms offer a unique opportunity for Media RSS to reemerge in a big way enabling --anybody-- to broadcast their own TV channel(s) exactly how Web 2.0 made it possible for --anybody-- to publish their own blogs and websites.

    However, as it has in the past, it will be up to web developers to create and use pertinent extensions keeping RSS as transparent as possible lest we once again confuse the people who will benefit from its use.

    Furthermore, the use of the term "syndication" and "XML" simply confused people while such things need not be explained to web developers.

    As I begin to actively market virtualCableTV software services I am using the phrase Really Simple Broadcasting (RSB) as that needs no interpretation. After all, who can deny it was a technical failure of RSS but one of marketing that has adversly impacted the use of RSS?

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  12. I didn't know it was supposedly dying. Guess I wasted time worrying about my feed.

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  13. Jef,

    With your deep love for RSS, I'm really curious to see what feeds you subscribe to. Care to share?

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  14. Agreed, RSS is great. No decent alternative exists. Thinking twitter is remotely comparable is crazy.

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  15. I get ten-times more value out of Google Reader than I do out of social media. If I had to choose just one, I would take RSS over social media in a heartbeat.

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    1. Yes, I strongly agree about the usefulness of RSS. However, I fear Google Reader has killed all the other decent RSS readers. If one doesn't want a Google account, what alternative readers are just as powerful?

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    2. Feedly is performing pretty well, although it is essentially an UI wrapper around Google Reader IMO .

      In the mobile scene, there is Pulse and FeedlerPro which I find good.

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  16. Agreed. I depend upon RSS so that, for one thing, I don't have to sit around watching Twitter hoping I don't miss a fleeting reference to a good story. I have a few trusted RSS feeds, and the luxury of checking them a very few times of day for new items, and even scrolling back in history (at rare times) for old ones. I rarely need even to use a reader-saver.

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  17. Although I thought you once said you stopped reading RSS feeds and only looked up information via the Morning Dew and Morning Brew?

    Otherwise, totally agree. Who uses browsers for RSS feeds? Yuck..
    There are great RSS readers out there that sync with Google Reader, and thus even keep your feeds up-to-date across devices.

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    1. I said that once, but that didn't work out either. I do both now, I try to constantly cut the weeds in my RSS subscriptions, and only browse the community driven content when I feel like it. The community driven content remains to be a great source to discover new things.

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  18. I like RSS feed just like what you said on this post!!

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  19. Agreed! With the addendum that RSS has to go away in order to let Big Social control the means of dissemination. Google would prefer we disseminate via Google Plus. Facebook, via Facebook. Twitter, via Twitter. Governments and corporations would *also* prefer we disseminate via Big Social because Big Social can be monitored and analyzed. It's a bad trend, and we need to push RSS and other open alternatives all the harder.

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