Yes, I am talking about RSS. Sometimes I wonder if people new to blogging even know what it is. We subscribe to newsletters that are created via RSS. Same with podcasts.
Let’s step back. What is the definition of RSS? According to Wikipedia, RSS is: this is the intro:
RSS (Rich Site Summary; originally RDF Site Summary; often called Really Simple Syndication) is a type of web feed which allows users to access updates to online content in a standardized, computer-readable format. These feeds can, for example, allow a user to keep track of many different websites in a single news aggregator. The news aggregator will automatically check the RSS feed for new content, allowing the content to be automatically passed from website to website or from website to user. This passing of content is called web syndication. Websites usually use RSS feeds to publish frequently updated information, such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video. An RSS document (called “feed”, “web feed”, or “channel”) includes full or summarized text, and metadata, like publishing date and author’s name.
It Started with Google Reader
Google Reader was the RSS reader of its time. When it became defunct, I had to switch to another one (I cannot remember what it was).
The beauty of an RSS reader was to have all the recent posts of blogs that I cared about listed in a nice, orderly fashion— something I could scan easily. There was a time that I was following up to 250 blogs. I have paired that down over the years but, still, it was a lot. This was the most time-efficient way to track them.
I Tried Following Blogs on Social
I slipped them into a column or two in Tweetdeck and called it good. And it worked—for awhile. But people were putting other stuff on Twitter. Sharing an occasional sales pitch, something they were doing at a WordCamp or conference some of their other content. All of this was fine, even a personal opinion (outside of politics) was okay. I dealt with it. But still, those links to posts were getting lost and it took more of my attention to find them.
And Then, There Were the Emails
During that same time I also subscribed to a lot of blogs via email. Well, you might guess how that went. Some strictly sent me their updates of posts. But more and more turned into multiple emails with other stuff they were doing (and selling). Sure, there was some good stuff scattered in there, but I will tell you. I went on a unsubscribing rampage. And I realized that what most of them were sending me via email was also being shared on social. The bottom line? It was cluttering up my inbox, plain and simple.
I Semi-Reverted Back to RSS
So back to the beginning. I ended up revisiting RSS readers. I downloaded the Feedly app and added some blogs to it. I could see potential. But for some crazy reason, my brain was so conditioned to social that I found that I wasn’t using it.
A Tweet Showed Me the Light
One day recently, my friend Chris Wiegman tweeted something about Feedly and feeds. I cannot find the tweet, but it caught my eye and kicked me in the butt. I revisited Feedly.
The Rest is History… for Now
Since that day, I have never been happier. I have unsubscribed to more email lists. Sure, I may be missing out on a little something here and there, or those supposed gems I would only get as a subscriber. But to be honest, a lot of those gems began to lose their shine for me.
I spend less time looking for those posts on social and can easily glance at what I find interesting.
Each morning, I open Feedly and scan my list. I may even do it later in the afternoon again if I feel like it. And what’s nice is that it also tells me if someone hasn’t posted for a while. I can ponder whether they should stay in my feed or I should let them go.
In any case, it has made life much better.
Thank you, RSS reader.