Embrace the web, abandon social media

I have a fresh stream of news articles, editorials, photographs, multimedia pieces, and videos delivered to me every day. When I open the Feedly website or app on my phone I have immediate access to something new.

This stream is not assembled by an algorithm or third party like those you’ll find on Facebook, X, Bluesky, or Threads. I curate it myself. It can only contain posts from sources I choose.

The wonders of the world wide web arrive in the palm of my hand thanks to RSS. For the uninitiated, that means Really Simple Syndication. It’s a technology that was first introduced back in 1999.

Many websites, especially those which produce dated articles, have at least one RSS feed. These feeds are automatically updated when new items are published. Anyone who subscribes receives the full content (or a summary) soon after in their RSS reader.

The reader’s interface is similar to an email client. You’ll see the post headlines, sorted by latest arrival, in what looks like an inbox. When you click a headline the contents are revealed. You can either read, view, or listen right there or click again to access the website version.

I’ve been an enthusiastic proponent of RSS since Google Reader was launched in 2005. Most who are unfamiliar with the technology express a genuine interest when I explain it. I’m surprised so few are aware.

Feedly has been my reader of choice since Google shut theirs down in 2013. I look forward to opening it every morning.

At present, I subscribe to over 200 feeds. Many of my favorite reporters, commentators, web developers, photographers, Bible teachers, and academics are included. They provide around 90 new items from their websites and blogs daily.

My usage has ramped up considerably in the past several years since I have deleted one social network after another. Today, I consume very little on social media, but read on the web as much as ever.

RSS provides a feed that I control. That’s the way I like it.

I still post links to my websites and podcasts on Facebook and LinkedIn, but avoid their news feeds. I’m not a fan of the ads, the recommended content, and the other junk they force me to scroll through.

There is a lot of good stuff on the web. If we can break out of the social media doom loop, we just might find it.