I rely on RSS

RSS is a key part of my approach to keeping up to date

Published on 
3 min, 479 words

Categories: technology

I rely on RSS (Really Simple Syndication) to keep me up to speed on what is happening in the world.

I used to be an avid user of Google Reader before Google added it to it's large collection of dead products. This article explains the how and why of its death and interestingly what it could have been if it had fully achieved it's aims. The aim was to be a single place to consume not only articles but other forms of media as well.

I used to follow over 150 different websites and it was great to be able to check all their new updates in one place. I would spend about ten minutes each day scanning all the titles to determine which were worth reading and then usually about another 5-10 minutes reading them. It was very efficient.

The day they killed Google Reader was a very sad day for me.

I tried a number of alternatives including the most popular ones such as Feedly. However the one that seemed to most align with the way I wanted to use a reader was Inoreader. It is one of the few applications I pay a subscription fee for - I pay 20 euros a year for the supporter plan to make it ad free.

I have the sites grouped into sections which means I can scan all the new related articles for a particular subject in one go.

I select one section at a time and scan the articles, as before, and any I think are worth reading I "star" them to add them to "Read Later". At some point I will work my way through those articles.

With the demise of Twitter I think there may be an opportunity which could potentially lean on RSS for a solution. One of the reasons I still have Twitter is due to the kid's school using it to send out updates such as trip updates or sports results.

As they have no need for a lot of the features such as sharing or comments their requirements could be simplified to just the posting the same short updates using RSS. There are then a whole selection of applications that could be used to read it - any application that supports RSS. You could extend the backend to have different feeds for each department with different users posting to them.

Unfortunately there is still the education issue (no pun intended) of getting people up to speed with using RSS and so I guess we will end up with something like Threads instead.


How Google Reader died — and why the web misses it more than ever