Burnt out of the drama and conflict on Twitter? Tired of Facebook selling your data to third parties? Do you just want a quiet stream of information you trust?
Maybe you should try RSS.
What is RSS?
RSS or “Really Simple Syndication” allows you to create a custom feed of news sources on any topic you want. Most blogs and news sites support RSS or its equivalents such as Atom and FeedBurner.
An RSS feed is nothing more than an XML-format file listing each article title, published date, a summary, and optionally the full article.
Why use RSS?
For the reader
- It has an end. Once I’ve scanned the articles in my RSS reader I’m done. In contrast your news feeds on Twitter and Facebook are never empty: if you did somehow see all the articles from people you’ve subscribed to, Twitter and Facebook will backfill with other items just to give you something to read (so you’ll stay on the site). You will never finish.
- No gatekeeper, no censorship. Subscribe to any blog or news source you want.
- Privacy. You don’t have to join a mailing list or open an account. It is completely anonymous with no way to track you.
For the writer
- No gatekeeper, no censorship. Write whatever you want.
- It’s free.
- No ads. Why publish on a platform that puts your competitor’s ads right next to your content?
News aggregators or readers allow you to scan headlines or full articles. When new articles are published the reader app is alerted. Many web browsers have a built-in reader except Safari. If you visit my blog RSS link using a non-Safari browser you should see a list of articles.
Creating an RSS feed
The steps to creating an RSS feed for your blog depends on what platform you’re using. Wordpress has a different way of doing it than Blogger. My blog platform has yet another way of adding an RSS feed. Check your blog documentation for more details.
In summary, an RSS feed allows you to publish or read on the web without worrying about censorship or being tracked. It’s worth checking out.