Why we need to use RSS

by Cath

I love social media, I love following people I admire and get a glimpse of their life. It’s so cool that we are in a world where we can be connected so easily with people from other countries, different realities. I love to see the insta stories of my favorite bloggers, their tweets, it feels like we’re connected somehow, even though most of the time it’s a one-side relationship, which probably it’s something interesting to talk about in another post, but today I really want to explain why we cannot rely in social media to read our favorite bloggers’s post.

The problem

Social media platforms have specific algorithms to determine what to show to you, which is good because you get more relevant content but it’s also bad because you’re evolving every day and when you start searching for something doesn’t mean it has become your only interest. That’s why “Social media bubble” is a real thing, we are led to read articles about only one topic and eventually discard everything else.

They also benefit those who post more often which can make you forget all the amazing bloggers out there that post less frequently. And these algorithms are forever changing, obviously! As someone who works in tech, we’re constantly trying to improve our systems and it makes sense as a company to do these updates, innovation is a really good thing! But as a user and content creator I understand the consequences of these changes.

And this is why I believe it’s super hard to keep reading and support all the blogs you love with social media. Since my social media feeds change according to my latest activity, some blogs not related to it (which I’m still interested in) end up getting buried. Even though I’m searching lately more about being eco-friendly doesn’t mean I don’t want to keep reading craft blogs. It’s also particularly difficult to follow during the work week, especially when I’m too stressed out with work, I miss tons of updates which the social media platform will never show it to me.

The solution

The alternative? RSS, our old friend. With RSS, the blog posts that I missed will always be waiting for me. An entire month away and everything will still be there, it won’t be buried with all the new photos/tweets/news.

A few years ago most of us used Google Reader to keep up with the blog updates. I remember very clearly the day that I received the news that Google Reader would cease to exist. I had so many blog subscriptions! How would I keep up with all of them? I was truly mad at Google, I think every one of my friends heard my speech on how Google Reader shouldn’t be discontinued.

Back then, I went to look for alternatives as life without a feed aggregator didn’t seem possible. The most popular alternative was Feedly but I hated their interface, how their UI looked like. Bloglovin’ was good but I didn’t like the top bar.
I eventually decided to roll my own, since I had a web server (the one where my blog is hosted) and the knowledge to do it. I installed Tiny Tiny RSS and imported all my feeds from google reader. I really liked it, very similar to google reader in terms of reading, it was a good alternative to use.

However when I left college and started working (adulting!!) I spent a huge amount of time offline. This change in my life was mentally very hard on me, spending 8h in a place, in a new city, it took a lot of adapting and consumed me every day. I was also with a lot of headaches because of the computer screen so I was not eager to be online at that point.

Can we just pause for a second and celebrate how fast our bodies adapt? Back then you could not pay me to spend more time in the computer besides work – and I always loved being in the computer – and now I’m totally able to spend several hours in front of a computer screen without headaches.

Back to the post! So when I came back to the online world, I forgot about my RSS reader and until recently I was using mostly social media to keep up with my favorite blogs. I know the URL of most of them so I would also check weekly for updates but the truth is that a lot got away, especially in the busiest times.

I also think that’s why newsletters are so popular these days, obviously some newsletters are very different from the blog itself but others just send you their latest updates which prompts the person to visit the blog. Without a reminder some of them would be forgotten, that way it’s nice to have something to remind you. In a world of distractions, these types of newsletters remind you to don’t forget one of your favorite blogs.

And that’s why I am now back to RSS. I am currently using Inoreader and it serves my purposes beautifully. There’s also a way to subscribe to a blog using Blogtrottr, basically you put your email address and every week (or other frequency) this service sends to your email the updates, it’s like a newsletter.

There’s still Bloglovin’ which is a good platform but I don’t particularly enjoy reading there, as I didn’t back then. As of now I’m perfectly content with InoReader.

What do you think? Do you use RSS? Let me know why and what is your favorite service!

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