Even news junkies tire from the endless news cycle. Riding the merry-go-round tires easily day in and day out when you’re taking your news through multiple channels.
There’s TV. There’s radio. Digital newspapers. Twitter and Facebook. A million takes on the same story and always an angle. I wanted a more holistic, stripped-down approach to news consumption without the emotional charge and the distractions.
RSS provided a real turning point in how I experience news. Going back in time to a tool that’s largely now forgotten really helped me.
What is RSS?
RSS and the Internet have had a rollercoaster kind of relationship. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) emerged in the late 90s during the early stages of commercialization of the Internet. Its developers recognized early that people would want a convenient way to follow any new content from many sites at the same time.
That’s what RSS does. It syndicates content from other sites and displays it in an RSS feed reader. The process is simple. Blogs and sites have an RSS feed encoded into their source code, which can only be accessed by an RSS feed reader. Users can subscribe to as many sites as they want via their RSS feed reader and receive new content at the same time (give or take) as it’s published.
The purpose is to eliminate the continuous hopping from homepage to homepage. This makes RSS a perfect vehicle to follow the news. RSS disappeared for a while in the early 2010s, but has been rising in relevance for the past several years. For good reason!
5 reasons why you should follow the news with it
Gives you information from trusted sources
The biggest challenge to news consumption at present remains the trustworthiness of sources. A lot has been said about the ubiquity of false news and misinformation, which leak through every information channel. Whether it’s websites masquerading as reputable newspapers and sites or a news source bent on furthering their own agenda, finding the headline that tells the truth – as close as it can get to the truth – has become difficult.
You don’t have to be on the defence every time a news article comes your way, when you’re on RSS, because you’re in charge of what you consume. Part of the appeal of RSS readers is the full control over your feed. You don’t need to filter and fact check, when you’ve subscribed to sources you count on to tell the truth. I personally recommend sticking with big, internationally recognized papers and news agencies.
Saves you time searching for news
If you’re curious to dig around a specific news story as it’s developing, you have two advantages at hand:
- You don’t have to leave your RSS feed reader at all. If the story is significant enough, then you will certainly find your subscriptions filled with headlines and then additions to the story as it develops. Plus, you save on having to perform Google searches or turn to news apps. Naturally having one master feed saves so much more time.
- All the better you can search through your subscriptions. News sites and online newspapers have a high output on a daily basis. It can be daunting to scroll everything in order to spot the title that interests you, so use the internal search to find what you’re looking for. With the right RSS feed reader, you can do so much. Inoreader has developed several different types of search.
Gives you only the news you are interested in
Perhaps you want a little more curation regarding what comes into your feed. As I mentioned, the news cycle is quite generous when it comes to headlines hitting the Internet. RSS feed readers are equipped with all the filters, tags, stars and folders in order for you to organize your reading the best way you could possibly want. Weed out the articles, topics and writers you don’t want to see at all and only receive news fully tailored to your needs.
News sites usually have different feeds for different categories of news, so you can subscribe only to your preferred interest. If you’re unsure whether there are category feeds on any site, you can use several tricks to discover RSS feed URLs. Inoreader has made this all the easier thanks to its browser extension, which helps you detect RSS feeds.
Helps you discover new and interesting topics
But what about when you want to discover new sources? Investigate new topics other than world and political news? RSS feed readers can also do that. It’s not just curation that they offer. Modern feed readers embrace content discovery and make strides to help users discover valuable content on their database so they don’t have any reason to leave in the first place.
Inoreader is a solid example – its discovery zone is one of the best developed. Users can choose between several broad interests, and then further specify their topics of interest. Once you’re there, you’re presented with the most popular RSS feeds per topic. This is determined by the subscriber count of each feed in the Inoreader database. It’s an extra criterion for trustworthiness.
Keeps you informed
There’s something to be said about opening a single application or tab on your browser and having everything you might ever need. What the RSS experience boils down to is convenience and speed. You don’t have to waste unnecessary time chasing after news considering that they come to you, which honestly streamlines the entire process. Thank you, advances in automation!
RSS feed readers are quick to update. Within seconds, a material published in The New Yorker arrives in your RSS reader. Because it’s directly delivered to the user, you lose the middlemen – be it social media or newsletters. Honestly, social media is not quite as useful as before considering the lack of chronological feed. And does anyone even read their newsletters anymore?