Why I love RSS readers

With the chaos in the country/world right now, I acknowledge that everything I could write about on this silly blog is entirely inconsequential. A few days ago it seemed to me that society was on the verge of disintegrating:

  • Racial tensions are high following the recorded murder of George Floyd at the hands of police.
    • A day after Trump hides out in a bunker he used federal agents to clear peaceful protestors with flash grenades, smoke grenades, and pepper balls to walk across the street for an awkward photo(video) op at a church.
  • The coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country/world.
    • The economic fallout remains large.

Solving the world’s problems is regretfully above my pay grade and beyond the scope of this blog. With the above disclaimer out of the way, back to the regularly scheduled programming of trivial posts!

______________________________________________________________________

I’ve been an avid user of RSS readers since 2005 or so. At the time, Google Reader was my preferred RSS reader, but Google dropped the service in 2013 due to reduced demand. I used Digg Reader for a bit (which subsequently died) then eventually settled on Feedly as my preferred RSS reader. Feedly is free but supported with adds. As with much of the internet, these ads can be defeated with a good adblocker like uBlock Origin in chrome.

So what do I like about RSS feeders?

  • I get a customized feed of all publications I choose to follow.
  • I subscribe to Youtube channels this way and am immediately notified of new videos.
  • If I’m looking for something on Craigslist, I can configure a RSS feed to notify me of when a relevant listing pops up.
  • I have a few “deals” queries on my RSS reader, like slickdeals.com, when I’m in the market for a new product.

Here’s the 10 minute video tutorial on how to accomplish the above using Feedly:

The video failed to explain how to subscribe to a (normal) website you like. Here’s how to do so:

  • Go to your favorite website
  • Copy the URL
  • Go to Feedly and click the plus sign
  • Paste the URL and subscribe

 

Conclusion

RSS feeds/readers have improved my life greatly through the last 15 years. I remain perplexed on why they have seen such rapid decline in use over the past decade. I think the primary factor is the death of blogging, the ascension of social media (twitter/facebook/instagram/youtube), and the decline of the American attention span.

As of today there are 257 Feedly subscribers to this blog and 265 email subscribers. I am perplexed why the RSS/email ratio isn’t higher, but it’ll be interesting to see if this post entices anyone to join the RSS cult, #BringingBackRSSLikeIts2005!

 

Reader Poll

For fellow RSS enthusiasts, are there any tricks I missed?

For those unimpressed with RSS feeds/readers, why don’t you use them?

 

16 thoughts on “Why I love RSS readers”

  1. I really like Bazqux as a freemium reader – it has a nice mobile Web interface, although I use it mostly with an old (no longer available since 2015) IPad app, Mr Reader.

    Reply
  2. What other chome extensions do you use? I noticed LastPass and Honey but couldn’t recognize the others.

    Have you heard of Smile Always extension? It redirects you to the smile.amazon site rather than the regular amazon.com so you can ensure that you always support the charities that you picked.

    Reply
  3. Thank you! I’m a long time user of Feedly but have never thought of using it for YouTube. Our latest YouTube favorite is Jelle’s Marble Runs from the Netherlands.

    Reply
    • Thanks to John Oliver, I recently found out about Jelle’s Marble Runs! My kids love that show! He’s hilarious.

      Reply
  4. I’ve paired Feedly with Instapaper to build my own “newspaper” of long form articles that I prefer to read later on my Kindle or in the Kindle App. You don’t need to be a Feedly Pro user, I just take the URL and save to Instapaper.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the tip! I’d never heard of Instapaper before, but it looks great. I’ll have to learn more about it.

      Reply
  5. I love your tips and tricks. I moved from Google Reader straight to Feedly but I know I don’t use it as effectively as I could/should. Came here from Feedly and will be using some of this article to streamline some processes. Thank you!

    Reply
  6. Hi Frugal Professor,

    Long time reader, first time poster.

    Your write-ups on GoodRx were great. I’d love to see a future post on any strategies/thoughts you have on dental costs.

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Glad you found the GoodRx posts helpful. I’ve enjoyed using those tools to lower my healthcare expenses (particularly the telemedicine).

      On the dental side, I’ve had the fortune of having really good dental insurance in my life so I have had less of a need to price shop than I’ve had with traditional healthcare. Consequently, I don’t have really good advice for you on that dimension. Perhaps the one suggestion is to ask for the “cash pay” price upfront to see if the dentist is able to cut you a deal by circumventing the hassle of dealing with insurance companies. I read a book called “The Self Pay Patient” a few years back that was somewhat informative at the time. Perhaps you’d enjoy it?

      Reply
  7. Great post advocating RSS! I also have been using Feedly actively, since the Google Reader was gone. I’m just not using ad blocker, in the hope that it will be sustained longer, and will escape the fate of google reader.

    Keep it up! Thanks.

    Reply

Leave a Reply