Do You Still RSS?

Do You Still RSS? News Reader

The fifth anniversary of the passing of Google Reader went largely unremarked in most circles, but there was some coverage on Techdirt and other sites (Wired even called for a revival of RSS).

RSS largely died with Google Reader; development of the RSS standard (and the Atom standard that replaced it) had petered out years before, and aside from a brief surge in new apps in 2013, we haven't seen a new feed reader service in years.

Nevertheless, a lot of us still use RSS on a regular basis, and I was wondering just how many people are still using RSS as much as they did 5 years ago.

I'll go first.

I am still using BazQux Reader, the app I switched to from Google Reader 5 years ago (in fact, I had to pay the annual subscription on 2 July). I still have over two thousand RSS feeds in Bazqux, but they are not half as useful as they used to be.

I checked with Feedly* and discovered 843 of the feeds I follow are now dead because either the site went away or moved its RSS feed in an update, and another 621 feeds are inactive  (new posts are only published a few times a year).

All of those feeds used to be alive with at least weekly updates, but in the past five years most of their owners have moved from owning their own platform to being, as Mike Masnick pointed out, trapped in one or another social media silo (Facebook, Twitter, etc).

How about you? Do you still RSS?

* If you use Feedly, you can check how many dead feeds you follow by opening the "organize" menu.

image by Phil Denton

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

67 Comments

  1. Josh Gunderson12 July, 2018

    I still utilize RSS/Atom extensively, via Inoreader.

    Other than email services or search engines, if a site doesn’t have a feed I likely don’t see any of their content.

    Reply
  2. Gwenhael12 July, 2018

    Every day through Nextcloud’s News app.

    Reply
  3. Jeffery Land12 July, 2018

    I use Feedly daily, though I still miss the old Opera’s RSS reader.

    Reply
  4. André12 July, 2018

    I use Tiny Tiny RSS daily.

    Reply
  5. aus12 July, 2018

    I use BazQux Reader daily. Easily the best of all the readers I have tried.

    Reply
  6. Robert Spencer12 July, 2018

    Feedly, daily.

    Reply
  7. Ana12 July, 2018

    Yes, Inoreader daily, I don’t have Twitter or Facebook accounts, so anyone who has moved there has lost me as reader. Anyway, I tend to be interested in blogs with more developed content than a short sentence, so I have never seen the appeal of twitter to keep me informed, and Facebook usually has the same content I end up receiving in WhatsApp from one of my friends.
    For work related content (technical information) it’s still more useful following the gurus blogs and asking/following forums.

    Reply
  8. Mike12 July, 2018

    I still use RSS myself but am afraid it has begun to fade for a long time now.

    The main problem with RSS is that you can’t see it.

    Browsers have removed the RSS icon long time ago, about the same time Google introduced the chromecast icon, its similarities makes me think it wasn’t a mistake.

    I’m using Feedly and checked the organise feed page.

    Among the tech savvy sites I found:
    * People had started a new platform that didn’t have RSS.
    * Page that still had <link…rss but pointing to the wrong page.

    Instead of making a separate page serve the feed we could add the meta data to the page that already show the list of posts.
    Though the problem of visibility is still there, You can't see if you forget to add the metadata.

    A solution might be something alike today's page monitoring services.
    Third party services with the sole purpose to monitor changes and report them.
    Feed readers could simply scan the blog page for changes and group them as individual posts.

    But we already have the end solution to all of this. Why bother integrating thousands of separate systems using RSS when you could simply have them all connect via one hub such as twitter or facebook.

    Reply
    1. Anderson Nascimento Nunes4 September, 2018

      Why wait for sites to offer feeds? What I do is convert html pages to atom feeds.

      Google Search? Facebook? Twitter? I convert all this and much more. Forums? Search pages on e-commerce sites? Yes, yes, yes!

      This way I can use my feed reader to filter everything with a blacklist of regular expressions, then send the updates as e-mail messages. Doing this I don’t waste time with content I already know I don’t want to see, as it is all filtered automatically. Plus some keywords are highlighted to make it easier to eyeball some categories of content.

      I can easily check 1000+ pages multiple times per day and not see a single advertising.

      These companies don’t need to know what I like and what I don’t like. I do my own computing and don’t need their black box algorithms.

      Reply
  9. Michael Sautter12 July, 2018

    Yes, everyday with https://www.Netvibes.com

    Reply
    1. Erik Marshall12 July, 2018

      Looks nice!

      Reply
  10. Kevin M12 July, 2018

    I use RSS daily via Newsblur. I get very frustrated when I visit a blog that has no feed.

    Reply
  11. Tracy Cooper-Posey12 July, 2018

    I get all my morning news via RSS feeds, using Inoreader. I follow over 200 feeds.

    In fact, I found this post in my reader. 🙂

    t.

    Reply
  12. c12 July, 2018

    Almost daily.

    Reply
  13. Erik Marshall12 July, 2018

    I saw this post via RSS on Feedly, so, yup. I stopped for awhile but now it’s my homepage again.

    Reply
  14. Tom S12 July, 2018

    I use Feedly nearly daily for around 100 feeds. And of course a podcast app, which uses RSS feeds.

    Reply
  15. Stefan12 July, 2018

    I love RSS and use it daily, for example to read The Digital Reader. I use “Selfoss”, the RSS-Reader you can install on your own server.

    Reply
  16. Barney12 July, 2018

    Been using Feedly since Google Reader bit the dust. Can’t imagine life without RSS. Haven’t had any issues with my favorite sites / blogs / podcasts cancelling feeds.

    I mainly use Feedly for browsing rather than reading, though. I send the interesting posts / articles to Instapaper and read them later.

    Reply
  17. Al Kendall12 July, 2018

    Like many Google I used Google Reader until it was discontinued then switched to and stuck with Feedly. I use it every day although 50% of the 350 feeds I followed are now dead. I still find RSS feeds vital and check them daily. Any site that I visit and have I check to see if a feed is available.

    Reply
  18. Russ12 July, 2018

    RSS every day, including this blog. 83 working feeds total for me.

    Also, it’s not correct to say “…we haven’t seen a new feed reader service in years.” I use Mosaiscope, which is a service and reader all in one that came out in December 2015 (so lets round up and call it 2016). It’s been bad ass and it’s Pinpoint Bookmarking feature (allowing me to bookmark down to the exact word I left off at in an article) is mind-blowing (iOS only as far as I have seen).

    I do agree that development of the RSS standard has basically stopped, but there has been a little development in this space generally with the creation of JSON Feed (https://jsonfeed.org/) in the last year-ish. Maybe to little to late, but I think it shows that people do care about independent feeds, even if it’s an uphill battle to fight the “platforms” (Facebook, Twitter…) that control this space now.

    My guess is that it (RSS) will either stay at the level it currently is, or someone will figure out a creative way to fight back and RSS, or something like it, will rise to be a bigger player once again. Heck, WordPress is opensource and owns ~25%+ of the website market. I feel like that’s only a good sign for what RSS is capable of.

    Just my 2¢.

    Russ

    Reply
  19. fahirsch12 July, 2018

    NetNewsWire, mainly on my iPhone, sometimes in my Mac

    Reply
  20. Chris Meadows12 July, 2018

    I came across this post on GrazeRSS, which I use on my phone and all my tablets to keep track of techie information to potentially blog about.

    Reply
  21. Chris Meadows12 July, 2018

    Incidentally, does anyone remember what came before RSS? “Push technology,” it was called. Best exemplified by Pointcast.

    Anyone else remember using Pointcast? Back in the day, it was my screensaver…

    Reply
  22. Harry Underwood13 July, 2018

    I jumped on Feedly when Google Reader died, and I still use it. I have two Feedly accounts (one for politics, one for tech/etc), and I always find some new site to add to either one. Maybe there’s more to be done with RSS as a format or protocol, but it’s suprisingly resilient for a decade-and-a-half old protocol.

    TBH, I hope the future improvement to RSS isn’t to make it more “social-friendly”.

    Reply
  23. That Guy13 July, 2018

    Tiny Tiny RSS daily. Bring back RSS, twitter is good for nothing but trolls.

    Reply
  24. Quasar13 July, 2018

    Yes. I use feedly multiple times a say as my main news source. I only ever started using google reader because of the feedly front end and so just continued when feedly took over thebackend.

    I have over 300 feedins in it and like 10 have not been updated in the vlast 3 months.

    As for rss, I also use it to plugnin podcast feeds to things.

    Reply
  25. James17 July, 2018

    Inoreader has been great, you can also add feeds from places like youtube, facebook, craigslist, and more.

    Reply
  26. Tanya7 August, 2018

    I still use RSS on a daily basis, and so does almost everyone that listens to podcasts. I appreciated this post, but focusing solely on text-based RSS feeds does it a disservice. RSS underpins all of podcasting, as Dave Winer and Adam Curry intended. What does iTunes need to add your podcast, even today? The RSS feed!

    It is such a wonderfully flexible standard. I have a podcatcher on my phone for audio and video content. I can have blog posts delivered to me by email using Blogtrottr, so I don’t miss a post. I can get the RSS feed for a Twitter user or subject through TwitRSS.me, then pipe that through Blogtrottr to my email. Yeah, I’m essentially using my email as my text RSS reader, but that ensures I actually see it. That is the beauty. It can be all things, and present all formats (text, video, audio) dependent on how (the proverbial) you want to consume it. All the best!

    Reply

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