Social Media Is Not News – Use RSS Instead

Using social media as a news source makes no sense to me. Take Facebook for example. I have nearly 2,000 friends. Out of that 2,000, I know maybe 20. The other 1,900+? I don’t know them from Adam. And I don’t trust a single one of them to deliver vetted current events to my doorstep. That’s why I use a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) Reader.

“RSS (RDF Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication)[2] is a web feed[3] that allows users and applications to access updates to websites in a standardized, computer-readable format. Subscribing to RSS feeds can allow a user to keep track of many different websites in a single news aggregator, which constantly monitor sites for new content, removing the need for the user to manually check them. News aggregators (or “RSS readers”) can be built into a browser, installed on a desktop computer, or installed on a mobile device.” ~ Wikipedia

RSS Feeds

RSS Feeds are not all about news, though. Most any website is set up to deliver RSS feeds, including your favorite, Dave’s Computer Tips. Here is a list of what I monitor:

As you can see, my list includes mostly tech and computer-related interests. I am not a total prune. I do like to be entertained and I do know how to laugh on occasion. (I try to avoid laughter, however, since it ruins my normal grumpy countenance.)

The point of this is that you can choose topics you are interested in, websites you like to visit, and even news sites if that’s your cup of tea, and quickly see which sites have new articles for you to take a peek at. You no longer have to visit all those sites to see if there is anything new that piques your interest. It is an efficient and time-saving method.

When this screenshot was taken, you can see that gHacks had not published anything new since I last looked. That’s one site I don’t have to visit. Pretty slick, huh?

RSS Readers

RSS Readers are plentiful and as the Wikipedia entry above describes, you may already have one available in your browser. Google used to have a feed reader that I liked but they shut it down for whatever reason. I was on the hunt for a replacement when I found Netvibes. Netvibes is an online reader that has served me well for many years. If you want to take it for a test run, you will have to create an account. The service is free, however.


Here is a shot after choosing a feed from The Next Web:

You can choose to see these feeds in different formats; I like to see an excerpt and image if there is one. This offers enough information for a decision to read it or move on.

Finding Feed Readers

Before stumbling upon Netvibes, I tried many readers until I liked one. It’s the same old, same old process of using your favorite search engine, hunting for RSS readers, and trying them out each in turn. You can start with the one already included in your browser; maybe you’ll like it.

RSS Readers are old school but they are still relevant today. They will save you lots of time and possible frustration.

As always, if you have any helpful suggestions, comments, or questions, please share them with us,


2 thoughts on “Social Media Is Not News – Use RSS Instead”

  1. I use Opera’s browser for reading my newsfeeds. It’s the only thing I use with Opera, since the Chinese bought it. My problem is that very few websites have the rss button to subscribe to their feeds. For example, I don’t see an rss button on your website. Why? Is it invisible because of adblocking extensions or is it just not there? Your site was simple to add manually by adding /rss to the end of the url, but other sites I have to add /news.xml or /feed/ to work. I find this annoying. I miss the orange rss button. Sorry for the rant, I love your website, btw, and I believe I have disabled the adblocker for your site, unless there’s one built in that I missed.

    1. Richard Pedersen

      Hi Terrance,

      The glory days of RSS have faded. I think that’s a sad situation. Many do not know that RSS exists much less what it is.
      Firefox used to add that RSS icon to the right end of the address bar when an RSS feed was available for the current site, but no more. I cannot speak for any other browser.
      Our Forum does have RSS links so you can subscribe to topics and/or discussions.

      That invisible RSS button you mention has nothing to do with ad blockers. I would say that it is a browser limitation of those that do not support RSS.
      An RSS link could be manually placed on website pages but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

      I mentioned Netvibes in this article and one nice feature is that it will try to find an RSS feed, if one exists, for any URL that you enter into it.

      I have always used /feed and until now, I didn’t know about the other options – thanks for that information.

      We appreciate your efforts to whitelist our site and thank you for your kind words,

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