How do you follow your favourite online creators and their blogs, articles,
videos, podcasts, comics, or what have you? How do you choose what to read
when you have a few minutes to kill on the bus, or when you want to get caught
up in the morning with a cup of coffee?
Most people hand this choice over to social media, inviting along the whole
associated host of problems like clickbait; outrage amplification; snooping
targeted advertising; radicalising rabbit-holes; echo-chambers and filter
bubbles; algorithms choosing what to show you based on “engagement” rather
than what you’d want for yourself; and on and on.
There’s a better way — and there has been for decades! Amazingly, it seems
underused even within tech circles, and almost completely unknown to the
general public. It’s super easy to use, actually more convenient than
social media apps, and leaves you in complete control of what you see.
I’m talking, of course, about RSS/Atom web feeds, and I contend that they
are not only a better alternative, but in fact I’d go so far as to say that a
feed reader is the only tolerable and civilised way to read online! The system
works really well and more in line with what (I think) most people actually
want; it minimizes the use of harmful social media platforms; and it helps
foster a more vibrant, independent, creative, and non-commerical Web. So drop
your non-chronological algorithmically-obscured sponsored timeline, and let’s
have a whirlwind overview of what feeds are and how to use them!