What you should know about RSS Feeds.

One great thing about RSS (RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary) is that it helps readers take control of what they see in a news feed, as opposed to being a victim of black-box algorithms that control what a reader sees. Facebook and Twitter users may be especially victimized by algorithms and echo chambers.

Social media is partly responsible for decline of RSS several years ago. However, social media burnout is on the rise. People are tired of being a victim of the echo chamber or hearing stories of censored voices. Frankly, many people don’t trust that what Twitter or Facebook chooses and delivers in the timeline is the best solution.

Google Reader and Digg Reader

RSS readers permit the end user to research and find valuable information sources, as well as efficiently organize headlines — free from extraneous noise.

RSS functions to allow readers to easily track updates to the content of a given website in a simple, standardized format. The problem is not all websites make RSS available. For example NBC Chicago — a local TV news station — turned off their RSS availability in November 2019. Now their headlines are not available via the RSS method. NBC Chicago could be turning away readers, who forget to check for headlines on NBC outside of the RSS reader.

All RSS readers allow a news consumer to decide what RSS feeds they want to follow. The publishers decide if whether to make RSS available. If they don’t allow RSS, then RSS readers cannot list their headlines. If publishers allow RSS, they configure their release to allow a Headline and the Full Article or a Headlines and an Excerpt of the article.

Readers often use the web for entertainment stories they read on Instagram or Facebook. RSS readers are targeted toward people that want a digital intelligence tool or research assistant. However, that doesn’t mean that sophisticated entertainment consumers don’t use RSS readers

Feedly is the most widely used RSS reader on the market with a clean user interface. The free version permits following of 100 sources that can be categorized up to three feeds, such as News, Sports, Business. Feedly also indicates the popularity each story — both on Feedly and across various social networks.

The paid version allows more feeds and integrations, faster updates, and better tools for teams.

On March 15, 2013, Feedly announced the service gained 500,000 new users in 48 hours due to the closure announcement of Google Reader. By April 2, 2013, the total number of new users was up to 3 million. At the end of May 2013, the total user number was up to 12 million.



Inoreader is a Freemium RSS reader for power users. Inoreader offers has more free features, such as unlimited feeds and tags than other readers. The paid service allows integrations with social media. The paid version of Inoreader also allows HTML clips to embed feeds into web pages, and customer feeds that combine multiple feeds in folders.

Inoreader Features

• automating specific tasks with internal rules
• saving pages from the web for reading later[2]
• searching in all indexed feeds, not just subscriptions[7]
• creating searches that are updated with new articles matching specific keywords
• organizing feeds in folders and assigning tags[8]
• manual import of feeds from other aggregators
• display extended article content
• PDF downloads
• sharing to social networks and internally in the platform
full archive of past items in the user’s subscriptions

Inoreader also has optional views of articles, including list view, expanded view, column view, card view, and magazine view.



The Old Reader strips down the RSS reader experience while still emphasizing a social component. Like the name, it works more like the old RSS readers of the early years.



And those are just three options of many. The point being: In 2018, it’s easy to find an RSS reader out there that suits your needs. Which, in hindsight, is no small miracle.

“How long will it be before your Facebook stream is so full of promoted content, bizarre algorithmic decisions, and tracking cookie based shopping cart reminders that you won’t be getting any valuable information,” Wolf wrote. “For as little as $60, a business can promote a page to Facebook users. It won’t be long before your news feed is worthless.”

— Ben Wolf

See also …
WIRED | It’s Time for an RSS Revival