Subscribing to RSS

I was a big fan of Google Reader then it got shutdown in 2013 (6 years ago!). After Google Reader shut down the RSS Reader world was limited, I even built my own to settle my needs for consuming sites via RSS, that lasted for a few years before I shut it down. After shutting down my RSS Reader I sort of just gave up on the idea of consuming content via RSS and started to rely more on social networks and the rise of email newsletters, the amount of content I was consuming felt like it increased but I felt like I was still missing content from more original sources, especially as if you are not on Twitter at a certain time it’s likely you miss a tweet or retweet of an article.

Over the past couple of years I’ve been using micro.blog as an alternative to Twitter. Micro.blog is like an RSS reader for personal blogs built on the IndieWeb, with some added benefits, it’s a cross between Twitter and an RSS reader.

The last couple of months I’ve switched back to using an RSS reader as a way to consume content again. I follow a lot of personal blogs over larger outlet news/tech sites, it appears more and more people are back to writing on their own sites again and this is great!

When I started using an RSS reader recently I went into it with an open slate and decided I would build up my list of sites I would follow organically, which has led me to steadily build up a collection of sites I follow and actively read their content. I continue to add feeds on a regular basis as I discover new blogs to follow. Finding new blogs and sites to follow is rewarding, someone mentioning another article or person in their post leads me to another site which in turn I then add to my subscription list.

The more I consume content from personal blogs, it has now sparked me to use mine more.

Micro.blog – My initial thoughts

First and foremost, I’d like to thank Manton for creating Micro.blog, and more important thank him for all the hard work he’s put in. Even more this past week during the lunch. It can not be easily launching something like this and not have some teething problems, and he’s always been around to answer people’s question and very quickly too. It’s not small feat to do this, even with the small fires that have arisen.

Having followed Manton for a few years and trying to get myself into the “IndieWeb“, of owning your own content more in the past year or so. I found there are many gaps missing in all the different steps, of fully controlling your own content but not feeling like you are missing out from the “other” service. It’s not overly difficult it you are quite tech savvy and don’t mind diving into some code. But for the non tech savvy people the “IndieWeb” still has a little way to go. I’ve found myself a little confused on certain aspects and still need to read up on some of different aspects. When Manton mentioned he was working on something to allow for the indieweb of short posts, which he has called Micro.blog I dropped my name into the hat (added my email to the list), and then when he made it into a kickstarted, I jumped straight on board and signed up.

A few¬†months on after the kickstarter got funded Manton has invited the backers first into the system. Being an early backer inside the first 100 I got into the system within the first couple of days. Which was great, but to be honest maybe a little intimidating as I wasn’t sure what to expect. How would I use this, what would it replace? You can follow me on micro.blog if you are a backer, at micro.blog/matthew.

Currently I don’t do the whole POSSE (Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere), I do more PESOS, Post Elsewhere, Syndicate (on your) own site. Mainly due to the tools and amount of tinkering that’s required. There are many people are doing POSEE very well. But I like that I can use the app’s of other social networks, publish via them and then have my site pick it up. This is what I do with Instagram. I have a couple of plugins install to fetch the posts over, and it even pulls the image across and puts them in my S3 bucket. (Instagram plugin by DsgnWorks, Amazon Web Services, and WP Offload S3 Lite)

I plan to initial use Micro.blog in the following way, based on the current feature set. Over time I am sure I’ll adjust it as it grows. I believe as more people start to use the platform the more it will¬†evolve, and I’ll adjust as I see fit.

  1. As a IndieWeb RSS Reader
  2. Post from the Micro.blog iOS – once I can get the titles of the posts in my WordPress install to save how I want

IndieWeb RSS Reader

This is the biggest thing missing in the IndieWeb at the moment, a way to truly follow other peoples “micro” blogs in a nice timeline manner. I started on a path with my own RSS Reader to try to emulate a timeline based view but never delved into the IndieWeb consumption. Now Micro.blog is around I may have a bit more of a play with my own reader, but I am hoping Micro.blog’s platform will mean I don’t have to. (RSS is only a text medium, but it’s a pretty crazy world to go into an start consuming and parsing).

The only downside I see at the moment to the Micro.blog approach is if I reply to someone’s post I would love for that to create an entry on my site. It creates a web mention on the users site but I would love for it to create an entry on my own with a reply format. This way it keeps a history of conversations I’ve had.

Posting from the Micro.blog iOS

Another thing that keeps me going back to twitter or Instagram to first post there is the ability to do it quickly. This is where the Micro.blog iOS will win me over (one I fix the blank titles). Having the ability to easily and quickly post “Micro” posts to my site will mean I’ll more likely do that than reach for Twitter. My content will still reach Twitter via cross-posting but I’ll truly be doing POSSE.