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RSS Is Better Than Twitter

Linked by Paul Ciano on April 23, 2019

Patrick Howell O’Neill, Gizmodo:

Cynicism, egos, unprovoked hostility, unchecked propaganda, sexism, bigotry, and outright hate—Twitter is as full of it as virtually anywhere online, and worse, it’s unbearably nonstop. The design of the place feels uniquely unhealthy due in large part to its speed and unrelenting stream. Opening up TweetDeck, the Twitter-owned client favored by maniacs like me thanks to its real-time updating feature, can seem like stepping into an oncoming tidal wave and getting swept out to sea. Before too long, you feel exhausted and ready to give up.

With so many of us contemplating deleting our accounts or at least cutting down on that screen time, it’s time to reconsider something that feels lost in this era of algorithm-fueled newsfeeds and timelines: RSS.

RSS is a family of technologies that give you a simple feed from a spot on the web—a news site, a podcast, a blog—into your RSS reader. It’s a timeline of sorts, yes, but it runs at a sane speed, and it stays in your control, unlike Facebook or Twitter’s unknowable whims, and it excludes the vast majority of toxic noise that characterizes so much of social media. Folks, RSS is still good. More than just good, RSS is better in many ways than Twitter.

Invented exactly 20 years ago this month on the back-end of a feverish dot-com boom, RSS (Real Simple Syndication) has persisted as a technology despite Google’s infamous abandonment with the death of Google Reader and Silicon Valley social media companies trying and succeeding to supplant it. In the six years since Google shut down Reader, there have been a million words written about the technology’s rise and apparent fall.

Here’s what’s important: RSS is very much still here. Better yet, RSS can be a healthy alternative when Twitter is making you feel like shit. In 2019, that’s, like, most of the time.

Yup.

Paul Ciano

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