Yet another RSS feed post

Nicholas Ferrel writes:

The true alternative to relying on a centralized newsfeed run by any entity – for profit or otherwise – which may or may not share your sensibilities and which most definitely does not share your objectives or interests is to take control of your own information universe. Why have Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey “curate” your feed when you can curate your own? The solution, hiding in plain sight, is the RSS feed.

“RSS,” which stands for “Really Simple Syndication,” is an XML web feed. While XML is not too readily readable on its own, a feed reader parses the XML and presents it in a readable way. If a website has an RSS feed, one can copy the feed into a feed reader and find new content from the site in your reader. RSS feeds update automatically, obviating the need for the user to affirmatively check the website attached to the feed to see if there have been updates.

RSS feeds were more popular about a decade ago, when even Facebook and Twitter offered them. Then, in 2013, Google axed Google Reader, which was the most popular RSS reader, and more and more sites began to eschew offering RSS at all. RSS fell by the wayside, or was shoved to the wayside, as people turned to social media to deliver prepackaged news to them. RSS requires agency – the user affirmatively choose which feeds to subscribe to and copies those feeds into a reader. If the user decides that he or she does not want to follow a feed anymore, he or she need only remove it from the feed list. Some commercial feed readers recommend feeds based on a user’s interests, but the user opts whether to subscribe to or decline the recommended feed.

I have purposely filled in the most important ingredients; its a good long read if you are interested to understand how to make your reading more efficient.

While I have seen many “paid-for-services” that offer to “summarize”, I still remain on the fence if it really makes any sense. Understanding the written word in context is more important than the summary of the giveaways. The authors can include several arguments to process a “theory” or a “hypothesis” which can help you grasp the ideas effectively.

Therefore, a “cloud based reader” (my recommendation is for Inoreader), can help you more than your time spent on Twitter where the algorithms game your attention. It is best to avoid notification traps.

Shift to RSS reader for a long term benefit.