The Rise and Demise of RSS

“Before the internet was consolidated into centralized information silos, RSS imagined a better way to let users control their online personas.” [Sinclair Target] motherboard.vice.com

RSS is a standard that lets people take bits and pieces of websites, news sites, and personal blogs, and essentially assemble their own Facebook news feed. Likewise, it lets publishers connect directly with consumers — and individuals connect with their friends and family — without having to get permission from Facebook or some other company. RSS is intimidating at first, but easy to use once you get the hang of it. And hopefully it’ll make a comeback.

What killed RSS?

Technology didn’t kill RSS — regulatory capture did, says Cory Doctorow. “… thanks to generations of antitrust malpractice and financialization, we now live in an era of five massive services filled with screenshots from the other four.” Also, blaming feuding among RSS developers for its demise is “like blaming rhino conservationists’ internal disputes — rather than climate change — for the decline in rhinos’ numbers.” boingboing.net

I love RSS. I still use it every day, several times a day on workdays. I’m about to do another sweep in my chosen RSS reader, inoreader.com, now. It’s very disappointing that RSS never took off. People complained that it’s difficult to use and understand, but it’s easier than Facebook.

The day Google shut down Google Reader is “the day the Internet died, and what we are experiencing now is purgatory.”

At least that’s what Silvia Killingsworth says on The Awl: O Reader! My Reader

I disagree. Inoreader is way better than Google Reader ever was. Lately, I’m finding myself using Inoreader more and social media less.

Inoreader is a pay service. If you want something free, Feedly is very nice.

RSS was never hugely popular, and with the alternatives popping up in the aftermath of Reader’s demise, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it’s more popular now than it was when Google Reader was around.

RSS just keeps humming along

What makes RSS truly powerful is that users still have the control. The beauty of the system is it that no one can force you to be tracked and no one can force you to watch ads. There are no security issues I am aware of and no one ever has to know what feeds you subscribe to. This may be the last area of the Internet that you can still say things like this.

The Old Reader: behind the scenes – What Not Dying Looks Like

I wrote a whitepaper evangelizing RSS for the publishing company I worked on in 2005. I proclaimed RSS would be as big as the Web or newsletters. That didn’t happen. On the other hand, Facebook and Twitter are very RSS-like. And I’m still using RSS as my primary channel for accessing many websites.