The Case for RSS

Recently, I stumbled across a couple of posts about the virtues and superiority of RSS. I was a little surprised because it seems like a no-brainer to me. What’s the competition? Facebook and G+? Those are systems for harvesting your private information and in any event filter what you see in a way that might not match your preferences.

What about Twitter? No one knows what Twitter’s for but it appears to be mainly a platform for people with a loose grasp on reality to express—and express and express—their political opinions.

The sweet spot for RSS, I think, is following a blog that posts every few days or perhaps even more irregularly. That strategy saves me a lot of time: rather than check a blog for a post that might not be there, I just let the post come to me. For blogs that publish once or more everyday, I simply check the blog once a day. There’s no reason to clog up my feed with a bunch of posts that I know will be there.

The other big question for RSS is what reader to use. For me, that’s also a no-brainer. Even if I didn’t prefer to do as much as possible in Emacs, I’d still use elfeed. I like its search features and the fact that I can search for old posts. Even so, me use of elfeed is pretty elementary. Take a look at Mike Zamansky’s three posts on using elfeed [1, 2, 3] to get an idea of what can be done with it.

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  • JohnKitchin

    You might be interested in this article I wrote on scoring elfeed articles: http://kitchingroup.cheme.cmu.edu/blog/2017/01/05/Scoring-elfeed-articles/

    It is not as advanced as gnus scoring, but I find it helpful nonetheless.

    • jcs

      Yes. Thanks. I remember reading this but it was before I started using Elfeed. I understand your post better now. It's definitely worth a read for any Elfeed user.

  • RSS is undervalued. It takes the power of self publishing into the realm of convenience: the hallmark of any great tool.

    • jcs

      Agree entirely.

  • Sauli H.

    rss2email and gnus have been my go-to-combo for quite a while.

  • markgeary

    I thought the competition for RSS was Atom.

    • Sauli H.

      Most of the time RSS and Atom are used synonymously. At least in my tech bubble, that is.