The RSS end

Published August 21, 2019

RSS logo

I recently decided I wanted slightly more control over my news intake than occasionally looking at a news site, randomly perusing Apple News, or constantly being a day behind on Twitter. I thought, ah remember the good old days when you could subscribe to whatever RSS feeds you liked and follow the news straight to your RSS inbox? Why not try that again?

Turns out, it’s really difficult. People don’t really do RSS anymore, and if they are doing RSS, they’re not talking about it. Only a handful of websites actively display a link to an RSS feed, otherwise it may as well not exist – because how do you find it?

RSS readers are still plentiful, and quite good, but it’s getting harder and harder to know what to put in them. Two recent ones I looked at try and give you a helping hand – NetNewsWire lets you search and will try and find an associated news feed but often fails. Newsify gives you a huge list of pre-prepared sites to choose from which was actually really useful but obviously only helps if you want those particular items.

I can understand why RSS is far less popular than it used to be (and it never was THAT huge to begin with), given how much Facebook and Twitter want to get into the breaking news and constant updates game. But more and more people are falling out with Twitter and Facebook continues to make more headlines than they feature. Will RSS be the fallback or will there be some new way of following what’s happening in the world?

I like the structure of RSS. Here is the list of the news, read what you want, dismiss the rest, be in the know. But I can totally see that it is an outdated format. I just don’t know what the new version should be.

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