On the blog there are a few small changes. I’ve added a “recent posts” and “recent comments” widget to the side bar, and I’ve put things in a somewhat better order.
RSS is still useful
I might be old fashioned, but I prefer to read RSS using Thunderbird. Most of the blogs I like I subscribe to, and that gets the new posts coming up in my email automatically, either via WordPress or Mailchimp. If you are cheap (I am) then you set up an RSS feed. I like Inoreader: it is free, it will link to places like Reddit where you want to just lurk, and it is available for the phones.
And yes, the RSS from here works there.
With RSS (or “really simple syndication”) users and applications can access updates to websites in a standardised and computer-readable format. This allows them to combine updates from many different websites into a single news aggregator, basically like a personalised “newspaper”.
Before social media became hugely popular, RSS feeds where widely used to share links and content between different news and blogging sources. Subscribing to a website’s feed is similar to “following a thing” on social media, you’ll automatically receive updates.
The great thing about RSS is that it is distributed, there is no single authority (or big corporation) that controls the content or the platform.
Decline of RSS usage
As social media has surpassed RSS feeds in popularity, support for RSS has been declining. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, allow single, simple, users to share content. This is far easier than setting up a blog with a corresponding RSS feed. The bulk of social media content is then moderated and filtered through algorithms, coupled with advertising, to be turned into a money generating mass media platform.
Resurrection of the e-mail newsletter
When Google Reader closed its doors, some bloggers lost 6.500 RSS subscribers overnight! If you think about maintaining contact with your audience, email makes sense. For most of us, email is interwoven with our daily routines. We check it regularly and have access to our mail from our mobile devices. If done properly, sending out email newsletters is a viable way to stay in touch with your audience. Heck, it’s no surprise that people describe this to be a news media renaissance.
There is another reason to use an RSS reader. It keeps you focused. You are not deviating down the link path away from what you want to be dealing with. You are setting up, deliberately, a bubble. What you need you see, what you don’t want ain’t there.
You can see my RSS feed here. It is linked as “Meta | entry feed” in the sidebar.
I have some regular readers and commentators. Some of which I link to. Some of whom email me rather than put comments up. I’ve opened things up… a bit. The first thing I’ve done us update my blacklist from here. I then installed wpdixcuz, a new comments plugin. This should allow people to log in from other places, have some of the functionality of disqus, but still be wordpress compatible. Let’s see.
- Looks great, though the bubble is annoying, and will be disabled
- Comments come in fairly easily.
Though I need other people’s feedback here.