Welcome to my blog. In this post I’ll convince you to either close this tab or to find out what RSS is so you can subscribe to me.
My name is Bram Dingelstad. For those who don’t know me – highly likely, none of my friends know of this website – I’m a developer, entrepeneur, activist and aspiring game designer. I work at my own company One Art Please and Quest Vault at the Game Bakery where (at the time of writing) I’m also a general board member.
With the introductions out of the way, let me tell you why I started this blog. For a long time I’ve been having certain thoughts – just like everyone else of course – that are kinda in between the “normal conversation” and “stoner talk” Venn diagram bubbles. It is these topics that I usually dwell on for a while, with a strong sense of wanting to look out and research certain things I think about or that I would want to know. And what would be a better place to put those thoughts? “A blog” I hear you thinking, and yes you would be correct.
“So what are some of these thoughts then” I can hear you ask. Well dear reader, the thought I wanted to start this blog off with is something called “RSS”. Now, for most developers reading this, this term is very much known. But for most of my generation, the generation that grew up with the internet instead of before it, this might be a new term. (or atleast I was quick to confirm with my girlfriend, and she didn’t know so ).
What is RSS?
RSS is web feed format for those too lazy to click that link. For some the icon maybe something you’ve seen before. In the case of my girlfriend it’s “that Wi-Fi icon right?”. No Elena, it’s not. RSS was one of the many attempts of doing something called “web syndication”. What does that mean? It’s the basic idea of bringing the content a website posts back to a format that you can subscribe to. The idea of a subscription might not be a new in our current Instagram story and Youtube subbing internet, but back in 1995 it was. What was this used for? Everything, from subscription to blogs, news websites and more! If I have to believe whatisrss.com, RSS saves me time, ensures my privacy and allows me to stay informed. RSS can make you subscribe to these feeds like a mailinglist, but without having to give your email! Perfect! No more spam in my mailbox! RSS provides the freedom to engage with the content I want, when I want.
What about social media?
Sounds like something that would be applied in social media right? Social media – known to make us stressed, anxious and depressed – don’t seem to use it much or killed it of silently years ago. But why? Why would platforms slowly let go? Well, this comes back to the anonymous and “pick-what-you-like” parts of RSS.
Social media operates on advertisements and sell more advertisements when its users are more engaged. This causes the negative effect described earlier by using algoritms to keep us hooked to the never ending social feeds. It’s in the platforms best interest to control their users, not to give them freedom. RSS takes away this control from the social media platforms, threatening to cost them ad money. Users are also hard to track when they never access the pages but read everything through RSS or even worse: never log into your platform.
It’s in the platforms best interest to control their users, not to give them freedom.
So it seems that the social media giants have won. No one knows about the freedom that RSS gives us. The whatisrss website proves it even more by providing mostly dead links on its page or linking to things that haven’t been updated in 10 years. My girlfriend limited knowledge of internet technologies isn’t comforting either. Wikipedia’s section about “Current Usage” seems to describe more how it isn’t being used then how it is. Is there still hope?
It’s up to you
RSS is slightly making a comeback with programs like fraidycat – a cool program that makes you take control of your feeds – making the comment on their Github “ALL SITES SHOULD SUPPORT THIS COME ON FRIENDS! IT’S TOO EASY!”. Most podcasts are actually still being released with RSS. Services like IFTTT and Zapier are using it as data sources. If you’re a developer, StackOverflow still uses it. If you’re one of the early adopters of the social media platform Mastodon, you’ll be able to use it as well. Wikipedia still serves it to keep you up to date with its articles. RSS is about giving you the freedom and power of your feeds, not platforms.
But whether you care about RSS, about me or not at all. I hope you got this far into the article and find it somewhat interesting. If some information was new to you: I hope you enjoyed it!
Feel free to subscribe to this website’s RSS if you want.
Hey there! My name is Bram Dingelstad and I'm an indiedev.
I write articles sometimes.
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