From my cold dead hands: RSS

I spent a good part of today grooming my RSS feeds. At its height the number of feeds I watched easily numbered well into the hundreds. As a Technology professional, it was a great way to try and keep up what was going on across the industry. It still is, kind of. Many of the personal blogs I follow continue to publish via RSS, and many of the larger sites publish feed information as well. It’s not documented. Its almost like a dirty little secret. Gone is the familiar orange logo letting you know that the information could be obtained. But I am grateful its there.

The number of sites has been declining. Its undeniable. There are lots of posts out there declaring the technology’s death or its terminal state. I think this is incredibly sad.

I whole-heartedly despise the move in the industry (most industries) to aggregate via the social media platforms. Allowing these platforms and their algorithms to try and tailor what it ‘thinks’ I want to look at is a level of conformity, standardization, and potential down-scoping that I have fought against my entire professional life. It just goes against my core being. Sure I want to see stuff I am interested in. But I also like seeing information on things that may be slightly askew from or tangential to things I would normally look at. It broadens my information horizon.

The purported death of RSS usually gets attributed to the lack of commercial value or incentives for it to continue on as a technology. Its probably true. But for those of us who rely on aggregating news sources from around the world, around the web, and about all kinds of technologies, its the only game in town.

Whats the solution? I have no idea. Maybe some consortium of RSS aficionados can get find a way to monetize it or come together as a third party platform aggregator much like the social media platforms do.

Until then I will continue to sadly groom, look for new sources, and try and keep my OPML file with my feeds and characterization up to date. From my cold dead hands…. resistance is not futile… and all that.


2 thoughts on “From my cold dead hands: RSS

  1. I agree so much with this — which I found through the “shared stories” of other people who use the same feed aggregator I do, because tangential!– that I just had to say thanks.

    I grew up the proverbial “voracious reader” with a love of novelty; library exhausted, I would fish the trashcans at the Post Office for esoteric technical mags or out of state newspapers — until they changed the design to make them harder to access.

    I eventually became a librarian (public, then medical) but illness soon sidelined me. But I miss it every day, and wish I’d learned more about the technical side of things so I might be able to keep contributing without putting in 20,000 steps a day. Broadening information horizons feels like moral duty, and shame on those who try to fence us in and fatten us up.

  2. Hear!

    I am intrigued by your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter, sorry, RSS feed. Actually that was how I came to read this….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *