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The Case for RSS

David Sparks makes a good point about the strengths of RSS compared to, say, getting your news from Twitter or Facebook:

RSS is so easy to implement that it’s a slippery slope between having RSS feeds for just a few websites and instead of having RSS feeds for hundreds of websites. If you’re not careful, every time you open your RSS reader, there will be 1,000 unread articles waiting for you, which completely defeats the purpose of using RSS. The trick to using RSS is to be brutal with your subscriptions. I think the key is looking for websites with high signal and low noise. Sites that publish one or two articles a day (or even one to two articles a week) but make them good articles are much more valuable and RSS feed than sites that published 30 articles a day.

Unlike Sparks, only a couple of my friends have moved on from RSS (and are using Twitter for news), but I agree otherwise – I don’t want to spend any more time on Twitter than absolutely necessary. I cherish the ability to subscribe to my favorite websites independently from social networks.

One thing I’d add: it’s possible to subscribe to high-volume feeds (and keep them alongside low-noise ones) if you take advantage of filters and muted keywords. Modern RSS services such as Feedly, Inoreader, and NewsBlur all come with advanced filtering features that mute specific articles directly on the server, so they don’t get pushed to clients on iOS or macOS at all. If you want to subscribe to a lot of sources but automatically hide topics you don’t care about, this is the only way to go.