iOS9 News And Why I Still Prefer RSS

ios9news-

With the buzz around about iOS9 I thought I’d go ahead and at least check out Apples new News app before I dismissed it. Even before the OS update and the app came out I already assumed I wouldn’t be very interested in yet another news aggregator, but it’s made me realize what’s happened to the way I get my news.

Honest question: do people commonly use RSS anymore? Or has it become some kind of rare thing people left behind? Because for about a decade now RSS has been how I get my news, and I’m only just now realizing how fundamentally it changed how I think about news aggregation.

As soon as Apple revealed its News app by saying something along the lines of “we pick out the most interesting stories for you,” I was uninterested. It’s the same thing that pushed me away from what used to be my top app — Flipboard, after it let go of RSS and didn’t try to build its own RSS functionality after the fall of Google Reader.

After looking through the News app and discovering it actually let’s you customize your feed by picking from a bunch of publications that probably have agreements with Apple, I decided it still wasn’t enough, and will almost certainly just go back to Feedly. I don’t want news stories picked out for me, I don’t even want to pick from a relatively small selection of publications.

What I’m just realizing now is I’m long past the habit of checking particular news sites daily. I’m 10 years past it. I see that other people still do it, but to me it feels like something from a completely different era, like how people used to only read newspapers and now just read the internet, or something like that.

Even customized feeds like the ones in Flipboard or the News app usually only really grab the big or semi-big, traditional publications. RSS on the other hand is a thing practically any online presence can set up which immediately gives it a more diverse reach. With RSS I’m not just getting news form Wall Street Journal and Wired, but also a hundred random tiny publications and blogs you’ve probably never heard of.

How do you think I keep up with all those indie games basically no one else talks about? I’ll go ahead and spill the secret right now: whenever one wafts into my field of vision through social media or wherever, I track down the developer’s blog and subscribe to its RSS feed. Every once in a while an update (usually a screenshot or something) will show up in Feedly.

I guess the one downside to all this is that over the years my RSS feed has become bloated. Probably close to a thousand news stories float into my feed daily and I have to check them at least every few hours just to keep up. Maybe more closely curated news aggregates or single websites help stave off information addiction, but I prefer the freedom of choosing my own news sources.

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