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.