Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

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Responses to RSS isn’t dead. Subscribing is alive.

January 17, 2019

There were a number of responses to RSS isn’t dead. Subscribing is alive. Partly due to being on Discover and perhaps also due to Brent Simmons linking to it (thanks Brent!).

Chris Aldrich:

I’ve been enamored of the way that SubToMe has abstracted things to create a one click button typically with a “Follow Me” or “Subscribe” tag on it.

SubToMe seems interesting. A single button that gives the user a ton of options to subscribe. For now, I’m sticking with my Subscribe page that gives a short description of what Subscribing is and where they can do it. Perhaps I’ll extend the list of services in the future.

Jeremy Cherfas:

As for tools creating better ways to surface stuff, Newsblur does allow you to train it, which to me seems more useful than using an algorithm to train me.

I don’t need an algorithm personally. I actually like the urgency having many subscriptions creates. It forces me to weed through my subscriptions from time-to-time and unload a few. But I’m glad to hear Newsblur has something they are working on for this.

Rian van der Merwe:

I really like how you structured your “Subscribe” page in a way that non-tech people would understand. I went with “Follow” as the title, since that’s a word that has become synonymous with getting updates. What are your thoughts on Follow vs. Subscribe?

Follow is likely the more modern and widely popular verb. I think each network has had to make this choice on its own to help users infer what type of place they signed up for. Facebook has “friend”, Twitter “follow”, LinkedIn “connect”. Each of these verbs have meaning. Follow and Subscribe are both impersonal enough to fit with blogs but each have their own feeling behind them. Subscribing, to me, feels like I’m reading a publication (whether it be by 1 person or many). Following feels more like I’m one wrung down on a ladder. I could be alone in this feeling though.

As an aside: I’m so happy that blogging is being talked and written about so much over the last few months. 2019 already feels like a boon for one of my favorite things.


simonwoods says:

@cdevroe I’m definitely on the Subscribe side of things. Follow bothers me because it fits neatly into the cult of personality aspect of modern, personal media, of which I won’t no part.

Also, Inoreade does have a box called “What’s new in your Inoreader” that you can even tweak with a few settings to suit you, including the likes of “Most read feeds”. I like the balance here on the face of it but have yet to try it out.

RianVDM says:

@simonwoods @cdevroe I haven’t thought about this connotation with “Follow.” Y’all have convinced me. Changing to “Subscribe” 🙂

frederico says:

@RianVDM @simonwoods @cdevroe , totally agree and have always been bothered by the follow thing it gets efen uglier when it’s said that someone has X followers. Sounds like a guru and their entourage. On another note, Simon, is Inoreader your preferred RSS aggregator? How does it handle offline content?

hjalm says:

@simonwoods Well said! You’ve stated succinctly fellings that I have had for a while now…

simonwoods says:

@frederico I’ve been using Inoreader mostly as a cost-cutting measure, although the fact they have an app on Android also helps. I have yet to test out offline content but I’ll be doing so over the next few days so I’ll report back with my results.


  • Chris Aldrich

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