Jef Claes

On software and life

06 May 2012

Why I will always love RSS

There has been a lot of noise in the tech community earlier this year about how RSS is supposedly having one foot in the grave. If that would be even remotely true, I hope it dies with its boots on. The herald would be browsers and social networking sites killing or hiding support for RSS. While that may be true, their motives shouldn’t rig our opinions.

RSS has never worked out for the regular consumer, not directly anyways. So I get why browsers are dropping support for it, I am not even disappointed. Most popular social networks have enough traction by now so that they can safely start fencing their gardens with the purpose of bringing more money in. Also reasonable.

What startles me is when peers start advertising the death of RSS. The explanations I hear are somewhere along the lines of “Why use RSS? I count on the people I follow on Twitter to share links to good information”, or similarly “I just check Hacker News a few times a day to read up on the latest news”. I strongly believe the contemporary fetish of liking and sharing cheapens the way we consume our information. Don’t get me wrong, I do see value in community driven content, but there’s also a lot of dirt and sensationalism. Some days it feels like I’m reading the front page of a cheap tabloid.

I used to subscribe to a bunch of feeds, but today I’m pickier; I subscribe to authors who share things I care about and who inspire me in some way. By subscribing to their feed, I’m not missing a single update. This forces me to absorb it all, even though most of their content doesn’t go viral. This liberates me from feeling the urge to be connected all the friggin’ time, plus more importantly, there is a gold mine of wisdom to be found in the non-controversial content out there.

I love RSS. It just works, and enables me to learn so much, without having to be connected constantly or having to rely on others to tell me what to consume.

Subscribe to my RSS feed here.