Is RSS still used?
RSS feed readers are not obsolete. Not by far! RSS might not be quite as popular as it was more than a decade ago, but it still has its uses.
RSS feed readers have evolved into full-fledged productivity tools. Their mission is to optimize your digital life by consolidating all your digital reading in one place. And when I say all of your digital reading I mean all of it.
The current generation of RSS feed readers are perfectly suited for the demands of small digital businesses. They’re inexpensive, feature-packed and allow collaboration between different users, but that depends on the RSS reader you choose.
What are some popular providers?
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to RSS readers.
One of the best overall (and the one I personally use) is Inoreader. Inoreader has a feature for every single occasion and the paid plans are quite affordable. What I like about Inoreader is how easy it is to customize and play around with feeds. There are excellent features like support for different languages, offline mode and secure image proxy.
Feedly is the other big name you discover. It is perhaps best known for its AI assistant Leo, which you can train to recognize the type of articles and posts you like versus those you don’t. All this is done with limited input from you. All you have to do is interact with your feeds as you’d normally do. Feedly also has a very strong collaborative feature where team members can share insights to each other.
Other names worth considering are Feedster, which is quite similar to Feedly, and The Old Reader, which foregoes the bells and whistles to deliver a very stripped-back RSS experience that models itself after the first era of RSS. It’s very popular with nostalgic users.
How can it change your daily life?
Helps you declutter your inbox
What I immediately used RSS for was to migrate most of my newsletters. I’m a chronic subscriber to any kind of newsletter there is and my inbox suffers the most. If only, I could spend time reading them. Most often than not, the newsletters I get are digests so adding these feeds to my RSS reader is simple and you can remove the brunt of the incoming emails.
Inoreader also has a great function where it directly subscribes to any newsletter there is, which is quite useful for those newsletters hosted on Substack without any other equivalent. If you’re on a different reader without such a function or have maxed out the slots for newsletters, there are other options like Kill the newsletter. This tool turns a newsletter feed into an RSS feed with one click.
Helps you read the most important news
Rather than receive the news from social media and get bombarded with sponsored posts and whatever headline is making the rounds in your friend groups. Keep a tight hold on your news feed by switching to RSS feed. You select the sources and follow the news that need following. One of the best things about Inoreader is that it gives you several features that help you manage the volume of news items hitting your dashboard.
First, you can easily subscribe to just one news subject or category off a news site and then filter out the topics you don’t care about. If you don’t want to follow any international news that has to do with the Olympics, then you don’t have to. Or perhaps that’s all you want to read about. You’re able to filter posts that only contain the Olympics as a keyword.
For breaking news stories that are making the way, try out Inoreader’s Duplicate filter, which removes any headlines that repeat themselves.
Combines different sources of information
What I love about RSS feed readers is the fact you can populate your dashboard with any type of content you want. Apart from newsletters, you can add blogs, sites, forums and even social media pages. A handy way I see whether I can add a site or account to my subscriptions is the Inoreader browser extension for Chrome.
The extension is suitable for multitasking and checking on any new updates without having to leave your tab, but most impressively it detects any RSS feeds on a given page. Once an RSS feed is detected, add it to your subscriptions with one click.
RSS readers continue to expand the types of feeds you can add. Between Facebook pages and Twitter hashtags, no limit exists for the content you desire. Inoreader recently created support for Telegram pages.
Provides trusted sources
Perhaps one of the most underrated, but highly useful features of RSS feed readers has to be how easy it is to discover new information sources. RSS readers make their databases available to their user base for search and recommendations. When you go to the Discover area in Inoreader, you see the absolutely most subscribed-to feeds organized according to topics. You can trust these feeds because thousands of others have placed their trust in them. This community filter gives you peace of mind as to the quality and relevancy of the articles being published there.
Does not waste your time
No fuss. No distractions. No repetitive tasks.
RSS readers are created for efficiency and the more sites you keep track of, the more utility you get out of your reader. Nobody wants to spend needless time checking in on multiple sites for new articles and as we’ve established already, we don’t really pay all that much attention to newsletters either. RSS feed readers get the job done with one click.
You go to your dashboard and scroll through the most recently published articles in your feeds. All articles stack in chronological order from newest to oldest, so it’s a matter of a quick scroll to see what’s new. Feeds are also automatically synced and updated every minute, so there’s no delay between when a post is published and when you see it in your RSS reader.