I tend to think that the best way to keep up with your favorite Internet personalities is with RSS. Some people prefer getting everything in their social media timeline or email inbox. Still others like the ceremony of going to each bespoke website to look for updates. Whichever way you like your web delivered, I’m here for you. 🙌

Subscribe to HeyDingus

RSS: https://heydingus.net/feed.rss

Mastodon: @HeyDingus@mas.to

Email: via feedrabbit.com

Or subscribe to Jarrod

(Which includes links to every HeyDingus post, plus other short posts and peeks into my personal life — if you’re into that.)

Micro.blog: @jarrod

Microblog RSS: https://jb.heydingus.net/feeds

Mastodon: @jarrod@micro.blog

Bluesky: @heyjarrod.me

Threads: @heyjarrod.me

What is RSS?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It’s a standard protocol that’s been around for a long time that websites can use to package up their newest content into a feed that RSS readers can subscribe to. It’s also what powers podcasts!

A podcast’s RSS feed is just a text file on the internet that gets updated with the latest episode and a link to its audio file. Your podcast player checks each of those text files for the shows you follow and then downloads the audio file for you to listen to.

RSS for reading a website or blog works the same way. You subscribe to their RSS feed (it usually lives at a link like website.com/rss) with an RSS reader, and then your RSS reader checks for new updates to it. Any new posts are delivered straight to you, rather than you having to go find them.

Here are some of the advantages of using RSS:

  • It means you won’t miss anything from your favorite websites.
  • All your web writing can be read using a consistent interface, font, and text size that you can personalize in your RSS reader.
  • You can avoid all the pop-up ads, cookie banners, and newsletter promotions that plague the web these days.

Because nothing is ever simple enough, it’s good to know that you can often subscribe to a website’s feed that isn’t RSS, but works just like it. Those include .xml feeds and .json feeds. So if you see one of those instead of .rss, go ahead and try subscribing to it anyway.

Some Great RSS Readers

Personally, I’ve been using Reeder for years and I think it’s just the best. The interface is so simple, fast, and fluid, plus it’s got a bunch of quick actions that can be activated with a swipe. It makes doing things with your delivered articles, like sharing them, really quick.

But here are the ones that I’ve tried and can recommend:

You can also sometimes subscribe to RSS feeds right within read-it-later apps like:

RSS Sync Services

In many of the RSS readers above, you can subscribe to an RSS feed just by using the app. For most people, that’s going to work great and keep things simple (notice a theme?). But if you think you’ll want to bop around trying out different RSS clients, you might consider using an RSS sync service to subscribe to your feeds. It makes them more portable from app to app. Let me explain.

I use Feedly as my sync service. It’s what actually houses all the feeds I’ve subscribed to. Then in Reeder, I’ve logged into my Feedly account and it pulls everything down from there. I can log into my Feedly account from any of those RSS reader apps and Feedly keeps the read/unread status for every item in sync between all of them. And some sync services offer additional features, like muting posts that contain certain words.

In that way, your RSS syncing service is like your email account. It’s the service that’s home for all your emails. But you can log into your email account from many different email apps or clients. I use iCloud for my email account, but read and send from both the Apple Mail and Spark clients, for example. RSS sync services and reader clients work the same way.

Here are a few RSS sync services to check out if you want your feeds to be more portable:

I hope that clarifies what RSS is, what makes it so cool, why you should use it, and how to get started. If you have any questions, please do reach out. I’d be happy to help.

[Thanks, Leon, for the inspiration for this page.]