If you’re not using an RSS feed reader, you’re missing out!
I’m sure you’ve heard this about every single tool being marketed right now, so a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted. Nevertheless, RSS has persisted over the decades and for a damn good reason – it works, it’s useful and it’s evolved.
There’s a considerable amount of articles that petition for the rediscovery and re-adoption of RSS and I’m adding one more voice to the chorus. An RSS feed reader is an essential app to have on your phone, browser and any other device.
What is an RSS feed reader?
RSS has existed for a long, long time. You can rightfully say it’s ancient history in Internet years. That’s why it’s such a simple piece of programming. Shortened from ‘Rich Text Summary’ and ‘Really Simple Syndication’ (depends on who you ask really), RSS allows users to access content from multiple sites through a third-party client (RSS feed reader). This is done simultaneously (as in new updates are automatically syndicated) and without the user having to visit each site one by one. That’s the simple elegance of RSS.
RSS feed readers initially managed content from blogs and new sites, but have since expanded to capture content from Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, newsletters, YouTube and podcasts.
How does it work?
It all begins with the choice in RSS reader, which can be a bit of a hassle, but no matter what feed reader you stop on, the process is very much the same. You can manually add subscriptions within your RSS feed reader. Most have their own search functions, so you don’t have to actively spend time on searching for feeds on the sites themselves.
Another way to capture subscriptions is to install a browser extension and use that to quickly capture sites and add them to your subscriptions. The browser extension is also useful in saving articles to read later (a better alternative to bookmarks) and check on new updates.
5 benefits of using RSS feed readers
Why should you take on a brand new tool, when you’re already stretched thin? Especially now in a pandemic that has forced all interaction and most work processes to happen exclusively online.
It’s precisely, because we have migrated entirely online that RSS feed readers are a much needed addition to our digital arsenal. You might not see them as much considering they’re based on tech that’s not been relevant for quite some time, but an RSS feed reader…
Saves you time
The great advantage of an RSS feed reader is having great volumes of information syphoned to a single location. The ease of browsing your several sites all at once and seeing their latest articles in a chronological order lightens your daily information diet. The digital infrastructure laid down by a good RSS reader shrinks the overall mental energy you expend on content sources.
Bypassing social media (RSS readers can be used to follow important social media accounts and pages) also eliminates additional time spent scrolling and distracting oneself. Social media is designed to suck you in – now you have a powerful way to say no to temptation.
You receive only the news you want
RSS feed readers have been made for news consumption. Sure you can turn to news aggregators such as Google News and Yahoo! News, but you’re still faced by a wealth of information that’s not tailored to your interests. The same can be said about the news you receive through social media – there’s always that one click-bait headline that draws you in a rabbit hole.
RSS is all about handing power to the user. You select the topics and choose your news sources. A great many RSS readers assist you in curating your subscriptions through search and discovery. So when you tune into your home feed, you’re met with news stories that actually matter to you.
There is no spam
We’ve been building up to this point! Social media is designed to prey on your attention in order to show you ads and the algorithms will do their best to keep you glued to your screen. The same goes for newsletters. It’s become common for sites to abuse their newsletters with multiple digests and offers that overrun a subscriber’s inbox.
RSS narrows down your focus. Trims the fat as it were, so you get in and out and discover only the best content tailored to your interests. You are your own algorithm. Plus, RSS readers do well in decluttering your inbox from newsletters, which leads us to our next point…
Makes you more productive
A clean inbox equals a productive office worker. The quest for inbox zero is not just done for clout – there are clear benefits to work quality and improved concentration.
In general, RSS readers do a lot to aid anyone working with information to stay on target and better manage their resources. You want to work smarter and not harder. Advanced RSS readers employ a variety of smart features to accomplish such results.
Inoreader, for example, can share content directly to social media without having to log in, offers considerable automation through its Rules feature and integration with both Zapier and IFTTT, and further eliminates white noise with Duplicate filters.
Helps you always be up-to-date with events and news
As you can see, RSS feed readers have crossed over into the territory of productivity tools and a great way you can use RSS is to perform in-depth research.
Is there a particular news story that’s unfolding and you want to receive new developments? In Inoreader, you can easily set triggers that notify you when a new article matching your keywords is published and even save them for you.
Is there an upcoming event you want to cover or plan to attend? Create a Google Alert and add it to your subscriptions to receive any new mention online, or you can make good use of Inoreader’s superior internal search to get the information you need.