RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” imagine it like twitter or facebook minus the weird ads and the tracking. no algorithm, only you picking what you wanted to read. a newsletter where it wasn’t impossible to unsubscribe or worry about your info being sold. now imagine this existed 15 years ago and then we got suckered by the new fancy web 2.0
“what is this magic fancy thing you are talking about and how does it work and how do i get it” you’re totally asking
unlike newsletters which you have to give your email to (and pray they don’t sell it to scammers trying to sell you cheap viagra) RSS works on a “don’t call me, i’ll call you” policy. an RSS feed is a page on a website. (quick tangent: i’m capitalizing RSS because that’s how it’s meant to be stylized. everything else is the same as the rest of the site)
then, whatever RSS reader app you use, which is any app made by anyone (but this one is open source and the best) and it’ll read the RSS pages you asked for and NOTHING ELSE. it won’t start grabbing other things you don’t want. your app then shows you your posts in good ol’ reverse chronological. (selfishly, here’s the first feed you might add, mine)
hot steamy tips for using rss wisely
- beware hoarding. no algorithm can save you from hoarding feeds “just in case”
- some feeds only give you the excerpt of a post, with a link to see the full post at their site. don’t follow those: they break you out of the RSS reading experience, and trick you into losing time on their site.
- don’t follow feeds that update more than once a day. go for daily digests, or better yet, weekly digests.
if it was so great, why’d it die?
first off, google killed google reader in 2013 to make way for google+ which failed spectacularly and the sacrificial lamb was for nada.
yet google only did what nearly everyone did in 2013: leave the open, decentralized web 1.0 for the shiny new web 2.0 platforms. why? it was more fun & convenient.
now we’re in 2021 and for most of us, social media is very not fun and not convenient. that’s why I went back to the future with RSS, and wrote* this post encouraging you to do the same!
*ok well I might have not really wrote it but redid it in my style, here’s the og author