Feeds for a New Era

My blog post today may be old-hat to some, but because of the censorship issues today, I am revisiting it.

The technology of RSS feeds some consider to be old-hat, and they have been since the rise of social media. But they have been under the radar, not obsolete like others have proclaimed over the years. Twitter had a feed many years ago.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Netscape created it in 1999 under the different name of RDF Site Summary, and through the years it morphed into the current name.

The format is in XML language, which is a plain text file. Another file associated with RSS is OPML, which is XML’s outline format for exporting the feeds you have created in a feed reader for backup.

This is a screenshot of the XML feed icon from my website. Most icons are orange, but obviously they can be customized.

Feed readers consolidate feeds from websites that use this form of syndication. Blogs, podcasts, emails, websites, and news sites (this is not an exhaustive list) publish the XML files to their sites so that feed readers can pull in articles that are newly published. Most feed readers are free. Another file form of aggregating websites is called Atom. Most feed readers support both.

I will use mine to illustrate. I use the Linux program named QuiteRSS. (I have blogged about other programs, but like this one the best.) It allows you to add folders to organize subject matter. For example, I have folders called Oregon, News, Church, Writing, and Personal. I can update all at once, only certain folders, or certain sites. There is a rudimentary browser so that you can read the feeds on their home website. Or you can open an external browser to read articles. Filters are available to further help sort information. And the articles can be labeled or deleted as needed. I clean mine daily so I am not overwhelmed.

The fall of popularity of RSS, a decentralized form of gathering data for the user, instead traveled to companies centralizing data on us users, was planned? If so, it is time to stake our claims on the World Wide Web and raise the flag of our RSS mailboxes.

Solitude Work and Privacy

I have always enjoyed my own company, reading books and travelling by proxy to other lands and cultures.

Seriously lacking in our current culture is minding our own business. With societal lack of privacy and isolation, it is tempting to throw up our hands and let it all hang out. Even despite extreme technological abilities and the people who use it, my privacy rests in God. This is a biblical concept.

Stated in a previous post, I wrote that I hated writing a sonnet. Not as easy as the haikus I write. But today I decided to concentrate on the task at hand, and came out of it with 50 minutes of work and a decent 1st draft of my second stanza. I struggled for years thinking writing poetry was not work. Behind this was caring what others thought of me. It did nothing but rob me of poems that were not written.

Finished Walden. Henry David Thoreau loved his own company for two years. This is a gift.

Twitter and RSS Feeds

By now it is obvious Twitter is censoring some of their accounts. I have relied on quite a few to get news every day. So today I downloaded Liferea, a news aggregator for Linux.

I was around before the advent of social media. Where everyone stayed connected through RSS feeds and search engines. My very first ever blog contained the word hearth. Everyone had their home on the internet and comments on blogs and emails were the means of communication. Some have said that RSS was dead – it died on Twitter quite a few years ago – but it is not dead.

I am grateful for those who still have their websites as their home base. You are not subject to the political winds that blow. I was reading one Twitter account today and watched Twitter take it down before my eyes. This is sobering – to see it done in front of my eyes.


Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:31 NIV

Writers’ Alternatives and the Coming 230 Backlash

Lately, I have been reading that Twitter may be on its last legs, legally. The government is looking at its 230 immunities of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 being taken away. It could be sued into oblivion. Social media is for some their livelihoods, and when the censorship started, their livelihoods stopped.

Out of all the social media platforms I have used, Twitter is my second choice (WordPress is first – it has a robust follower aspect, if you so choose). I like the fact that you can read other feeds without having to have an account: it is an open platform, unlike FaceBook. You can follow someone and not have to ask, unlike FaceBook. I also have been on Twitter because it is a very popular place for writers to congregate. It is the reason I will stay on Twitter until it is gone.

The concern I have is if it goes the way of the dinosaur – where will the writers congregate? And this applies to FaceBook too because they are also censoring speech. I don’t have a large following, but I do enjoy the people I follow and that follow me. I could live without my social media accounts, but my writing life would be diminished.

Back before social media became popular, most relied on RSS feeds, search engines, and ranking sites. Some still do. Twitter used to have RSS capabilities.

I have tried Parler, Gab, Tumblr, Minds, Pinterst. As far as writing goes, I had the most success on Minds. Writers come with diverse political beliefs. Being part of a site with preaching- to-the-choir tendencies is not something I desire, and I think I am not alone in this. In civil discourse, we can learn from each other.

All this to say, writers need to be seriously considering an alternative plan for social media. From my reading of the conservatives on Twitter, they are for the most part fixing to jump ship.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments section.