It’s 2019 and even Mozilla has abandoned reasonable support for discovering and using RSS feeds in their browser. Shame on them! But perhaps I’m a dinosaur and RSS really is a thing of the past? Not by far! When I count the list of web sites of people and organizations I follow in my RSS aggregator platform I run at home since 2013, I come to the conclusion that this way of reading news is as strong as ever.
At last count today, I follow 74 web sites via their RSS feed. Out of those 74, only 16 did not have a new article in the last 30 days. In other words, 80% of the web sites I follow are quite active. And the majority of the remaining 20% are not stale either. Usually written by individuals, they don’t have something to say very often, but when they do, what they write is very relevant to me.
Another interesting number in this regard is the split between web sites of individuals and larger companies. In total 35 feeds are from individual people, that’s about half my blog roll!
Why? Why? Why?
So why am I following companies and individuals via RSS and not occasionally go to their websites to keep track of what they do? Well, for one thing, bookmarking 74 sites and visiting them manually every now and them is obviously impractical. Using a feed aggregator at home such as Selfoss and automatically looking for updates twice an hour is much more convenient and timely.
So some people would say, most of your sources use Twitter or Facebook to spread their message so just follow them there. Most of them perhaps but most likely not all of them. And even if all of them did, the last thing I would want is for those platforms to know and track my interests, analyze me to death and bombard me with advertisement, irrelevant information I’m not interested in and present me the information in a way I would still have to go to those web sites to read it. No thanks, I like my privacy. The web was designed for decentralization and RSS feeds are about as decentralized as it gets.
And while we are at it, I can mark and save articles locally and can easily search and get to them years later, again without being analyzed and tracked. Sometimes, it feels good and empowering to be different when you think about it.