by OOF | Web Captain @feathermode
RSS is a web feed format that allows content creators to syndicate their content as feeds, updating subscribers when new items are added. Subscribers use feed reading applications to track which websites they've subscribed to, and new items from these feeds are presented in a unified space for easy browsing. Introduced in 1999, RSS became the first widely adopted content subscription mechanism on the World Wide Web.
If you've never used RSS, it functions much like email. Just as you need an email application to receive emails, for RSS, website owners create an RSS feed with an address like
https://example.com/feed.xml and subscribers simply paste this address into their feed reading application to receive content updates.
Social media is a content dumpster fire. You subscribe to content creators and also receive content based on what the platform thinks you'll enjoy. But, for most of us, we joined social media platforms to consume content that mattered to us and kept us in the loop with the topics and circles we associate with. Nowadays, we find ourselves doomscrolling and lost in an abyss of loosely related content, aimlessly searching for content that deeply matters.
With an RSS feed reader you can pool all your favorite content into a single application you control. Most feed reading apps, like Feedly, allow you to access content from web feeds as well as platforms like Reddit and X (formerly Twitter). You can follow news sites, Reddit forums, X accounts, and more from one central location.
Instead of visiting multiple websites, each article is conveniently presented in your feed reader. With a title, thumbnail, and brief description available, you can quickly decide which articles capture your interest.
Unlike many social media platforms, feed reading apps give you the power to organize your feeds your way. Whether you create topic-based collections or filter content by date, it's a tailored experience, much like managing an email inbox.
Many social media platforms are rife with ads and distractions. In contrast, most RSS readers adopt a freemium model. You can access the basics for free and pay for premium features if needed. They typically eschew the ad model, prioritizing user experience over data-selling or ad revenues. Plus, the ability to customize feeds ensures you get content that's truly relevant, minimizing information overload.
RSS is an old, but truly amazing technology. Businesses across the world, top news agencies and content creators use RSS to stay on top of the latest information. Individuals who want to feel the simplicity of picking up a newspaper from the front porch, sitting down with a cup of coffee and reading the latest without the clutter of social media, can do so digitally with a feed reading application.