Brian Carper

RSS: Pull, Not Push!

2019 Apr 13 — Saturday

Are you ever annoyed at The Algorithms™ dictating what you should read? Luckily there's RSS. RSS gives you a measure of control back.

  • You can RSS blogs you read! If you see an interesting blog post on Hacker News or Lobste.rs or Reddit or whatever other firehose you drink from, why not subscribe to the blog's RSS feed?
  • You can RSS a single YouTube channel and get notifications whenever a new video is released! No more wondering what YouTube is going to show you today.

    https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=ID_GOES_HERE
    

    Or paste a channel's URL into an RSS reader, it'll probably figure it out.

  • You can grab and RSS feed for specific topics on news channels! For example, https://www.cbc.ca/rss/ Tired of sports news? Or, ONLY like sports news? Or want to read about sports news some days without having to also read about death and disaster? Set that up in your news reader.

No clickbait!

When you go to an aggregator site, you're blasted in the face with whatever clickbaited people into clicking the most1. If it worked on other people, it'll likely work on you, and then you realize you just spent 19 hours on Reddit.

With RSS, I get a list of summaries of things from sources I've selected, and I can judge myself whether something is worth reading or not. I've read all kinds of interesting things from people's blogs that would never have gotten to the top of HN, and who knows how much clickbait I've avoided.

No comments!

RSS is not social. You read the article and you're done. This is a good thing.

If you really want to see other people's comments (why?), click through to the article's original page. But comments become opt-in rather than opt-out.

How do I RSS in 2019?

Back in the day, I had one computer, and I had an offline RSS reader in KDE. Today I have about 97 devices that I want to sync up together, so an online service is pretty nice for that.

There are plenty of options, including Feedly, InoReader, NewsBlur. I've used Feedly for a while, and it's OK. Options for these services vary depending on how much you want to pay. And you should check for yourself whether the service is Evil or not. As Google teaches us, a previously non-Evil service can turn Evil at any moment. What you don't want is an RSS reader with Algorithms™ of their own, filtering and mutating your feed without you knowing about it.


  1. Or whatever someone paid to have shown to you. [return]


Thanks for reading!
<esc>:wq