Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Facebook Social Networks Twitter News

Why RSS Still Beats Facebook and Twitter for Tracking News (gizmodo.com) 108

An anonymous reader shares a report: One of the main reasons RSS is so beloved of news gatherers is that it catches everything a site publishes -- not just the articles that have proved popular with other users, not just the articles from today, not just the articles that happened to be tweeted out while you were actually staring at Twitter. Everything. In our age of information overload that might seem like a bad idea, but RSS also cuts out everything you don't want to hear about. You're in full control of what's in your feed and what isn't, so you don't get friends and colleagues throwing links into your feeds that you've got no interest in reading. Perhaps most importantly, you don't need to be constantly online and constantly refreshing your feeds to make sure you don't miss anything. It's like putting a recording schedule in place for the shows you know you definitely want to catch rather than flicking through the channels hoping you land on something interesting. There's no rush with RSS -- you don't miss out on a day's worth of news, or TV recaps, or game reviews if you're offline for 24 hours. It's all waiting for you when you get back. And if you're on holiday and the unread article count starts to get scarily high, just hit the mark all as read button and you're back to a clean slate.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Why RSS Still Beats Facebook and Twitter for Tracking News

Comments Filter:
  • Indeed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Monday September 11, 2017 @10:27AM (#55174295)

    When Google News changed their web site format (and rendered it much, much less useful to me), I switched to using RSS feeds.

    I had forgotten how awesome getting news this way is, and wonder why I ever stopped.

    • Re:Indeed (Score:4, Insightful)

      by macxcool ( 1370409 ) on Monday September 11, 2017 @10:33AM (#55174321)
      and thank you TheOldReader.com for allowing me to continue doing things this way. News, webcomics, blogs, podcasts, etc., etc. I've even contact web devs to see if they would add or fix newfeeds to make them easier to use and to skim through the summaries. I don't use Facebook, and I rarely look at Twitter. RSS/Atom is much better.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      For those interested, use https://news.google.com/news?output=rss [google.com] to get the generic news feed, or add &geo= followed by a zip code, to get a local news feed. Mozilla's Firefox and SeaMonkey web browsers can natively display RSS content, so you don't need a separate RSS reader.

      If you still want the web interface, https://theoldgnews.com/ [theoldgnews.com] has an extremely faithful reproduction.

      • That's what I started to use when I switched away from Google News. I recently dropped it, though, and am happier for it. Instead, I go straight to the sources that I care about.

        Now, I never have to see all the garbage sources that Google includes. Win!

    • When Firefox introduced the concept of staging RSS feeds on the Bookmarks browser, that became a must have for me in terms of news. As a result, any websites I follow for news, I do on FireFox. Previously, I did that on Internet Explorer as well, but Edge very helpfully got rid of that.

      I do use Chrome/Chromium but to exclusively follow Google specific sites, like YouTube, or for things like certain financial transactions where the apps are inadequate.

    • by jon3k ( 691256 )
      I still get most of my news via RSS. I started with Google Reader in 2005 and have been hooked on RSS since. Once they shut it down I switched to Tiny Tiny RSS [tt-rss.org] which is an open source RSS reader that you can host yourself. It even has plugin for "Google Reader Shortcuts" using j, k, v, etc.
  • Morning ritual (Score:5, Informative)

    by dnwheeler ( 443747 ) on Monday September 11, 2017 @10:44AM (#55174407)

    I use Feedly to monitor around 100 RSS feeds. Every morning I peruse the headlines and read any stories of interest, the way people used to read the morning newspaper. There isn't really any reasonable alternative. Visiting all those individual sites and dealing with different layouts, scrolling, paging, etc. would be a nightmare.

    • I use Feedly also, and Bloglines. So long as I'm choosing my sources, I'll accept the scorn of others for being misinformed. But if you're reading Facebook, Google News, even Yahoo! News, and thinking you're getting comprehensive news sources, you're wrong. And if you're happy with that, you're biased.

      Nothing wrong with being biased towards the truth. All else is problematic.

    • Ditto, 150+ in my Feedly.

      I've got a lifetime Pro license from their original Pro sale and it's been worth it IMHO.

      When Google Reader shut down I was ready to panic but Feedly has grown to address lost feature and improved in other ways. I've even had the opportunity to get on one-on-one meetings with their developers to test and give feedback to features so it's been a good experience overall.

      I can't imagine getting news just through something like Facebook or Twitter, too much clutter, too much other stuf

    • I've also been using RSS feeds and don't know how anybody gets along without them. I've been using TinyTinyRSS on my shared hosting service ever since Google got rid of Google Reader. It works great for me. Probably don't have much more than 20 or so feeds that I watch, but even at that number it saves me a lot of time.

      My kids have 7 teachers between them, each with their own blog where they sporadically post information that may or may not be important to know. RSS is the only way to keep on top of them

    • I use Feedly to monitor around 100 RSS feeds. Every morning I peruse the headlines and read any stories of interest, the way people used to read the morning newspaper. There isn't really any reasonable alternative.....

      There is a good alternative.

      https://www.commafeed.com/ [commafeed.com]

      + you can host on your own server

      https://github.com/Athou/comma... [github.com]

  • by Kludge ( 13653 ) on Monday September 11, 2017 @10:45AM (#55174417)

    Could someone recommend to me a newsreader that will integrate several news feeds into a single one? I do not want to use a web site that I have to log into. I just want an app or browser plugin. Thanks.

    • by Joviex ( 976416 ) on Monday September 11, 2017 @10:47AM (#55174435)

      Could someone recommend to me a newsreader that will integrate several news feeds into a single one? I do not want to use a web site that I have to log into. I just want an app or browser plugin. Thanks.

      https://feedly.com/ [feedly.com]

    • Here's what I use:

      Tiny Tiny RSS on my home server (but you don't have to use it that way): https://tt-rss.org/ [tt-rss.org]

      gReader on Android: https://play.google.com/store/... [google.com]

    • I use inoreader.com, as it allows you to organize feeds by folder and browse all the headlines at once.
    • by jpkunst ( 612360 ) on Monday September 11, 2017 @11:31AM (#55174745)
      I use Vienna [vienna-rss.com] on Mac OS X. It's a local application, not a website. To synchronize it on multiple computers, I made soft links from ~/Library/Application Support/Vienna to ~/Dropbox/Vienna (where the real support folder lives).
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Inoreader https://www.inoreader.com/

    • by cobbaut ( 232092 )

      Could someone recommend to me a newsreader that will integrate several news feeds into a single one? I do not want to use a web site that I have to log into. I just want an app or browser plugin. Thanks.

      Try liferea
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      • by Herve5 ( 879674 )

        +1 for Liferea. After trying RSSOwl that appeared more faulty apparently.
        Liferea works with dozens of feeds, is able to handle thousands of news without breaking, to lock significant ones, to show the corresponding html page on request. Only criticism : no ad filter. As this is the single app on my machine that does not filter, it's regularly painful. But in those cases, one also can 'open in the outside browser'...

    • RSS feed support is built in to the Opera browser. I've used it for many years.

    • by Herve5 ( 879674 )

      Liferea, as already said, but for the cases you don't have your own machine, you may install the very simple php script Krissfeed (http://github.com/tontof/kriss_feed) on any server you can access. Efficient and simple. I retrieved my long feedlist from Liferea and have it there too, just in case...

  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Monday September 11, 2017 @10:50AM (#55174451)

    What's the practical benefit of "tracking news" supposed to be? News makes for poor entertainment. "Breaking" news tends to be inaccurate and the corrections usually don't rate headlines. It's also full of nonsense, like "someone said XYZ thing on twitter", or 50 different kinds of clickbait, or the latest dramatic semi-truthful story to troll the news consumers.

    Conversations about the latest news are tedious. People just repeat the shit the newscasters and writers say, and most of them are repeating shit from other news. They all think very highly of themselves.

    Unless you're tracking news for professional reasons, you're better off just reading it the next day on some web site. Or not reading it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You can aggregate things other than current events, including blog posts. It all depends on the feeds you collect.

    • If you are talking about the headline news you might expect to see on your local TV News station, then I fully agree with most of your sentiments. BUT, if you are trying to stay abreast of the trends in a particular area, learn new things that are of interest to you but not necessarily to the news channels, or just curious about how the world is changing around you, then having an aggregated news feed of all your interests at your your fingertips is handy. Side question, if you have such a view, why are
      • by Kohath ( 38547 )

        Side question, if you have such a view, why are you commenting on Slashdot

        I like news and discussion. I don't "track" it. I browse.

        I "track" some other tech news for professional reasons.

        • It sounds like you got hung up on the word "track". People might or might not mean what you think they mean by that.

          • by Kohath ( 38547 )

            I think "track" means you don't want to miss something and you don't want to find out about it tomorrow or the next day. Versus just idly reading stuff when you find something interesting. You don't need a scheme to optimize idle news browsing.

            • Yes, I got that impression. But lots of people use the term in a more casual way, and might say "track" when they mean "scan the headlines every morning".

    • I did it as part of my job during the WannaCry/NotPetya outbreak. We were already patched. I was looking for anything else we could do / have to worry about.

    • Well, I use RSS for BBC and for Slashdot. I still go to the BBC website, I just don't browse the front page and try to sort out the various sized headlines. I just look at the RSS and pick out the parts I want to read. Same with slashdot.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    what i noticed recently is that almost every single site uses the choke point of feedburner for its rss feeds, and feedburner has started timing out all the time so I have to keep refreshing until it responds - this is annoying, especially when a site could generate it's own feed with a really SIMPLE bit of code

    • Feedburner blows. But, although it's common, they are far from having a monopoly on these things. I have about 100 feeds in my list, and 10 of them are from feedburner.

  • Decentralization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Monday September 11, 2017 @11:00AM (#55174511)
    Not sure if anyone else has pointed out that RSS is decentralized (like the good old web 1.0 sites that serve it up), and therefore not subject to the whims of an editor like Facebook or Twitter.
    • by alvieboy ( 61292 )

      I fail to see why you claim RSS is decentralized. Every feed is fetched from a single source (as an XML file if I recall well), and as such is subject to the publisher rules.

      Care to elaborate a bit more ?

      Alvie

      • I believe that he means that you can get your RSS feed directly from each information source rather than a central clearinghouse (like Google News). Thus, decentralized.

  • The "logical" way to do it is treat news like a query-able database where one can filter to get what they want and only what they want. Whether that catches on with the general public is another matter.

    Microsoft Outlook makes it relatively simple to set up filtering and folder-routing rules for email messages, yet some employees in typical work environments don't seem to "get it". Such people probably would not want RSS.

    (As much as I lambaste Microsoft products, their email filtering & routing rule UI i

    • Good RSS aggregators/readers allow you to do exactly this.

      • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

        That's more or less what I meant. I forgot to state it explicitly. Modnays. I'm basically saying the potential benefits of RSS over "controlled" sites is lost on those who don't or cannot get the hang of rule engines.

  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Monday September 11, 2017 @11:03AM (#55174527) Homepage

    Sure, RSS is great for keeping up with your latest sites. Especially those low-volume sites that might publish an article every few months, and you forgot that it existed. But the real joy of reading by RSS is the lack of formatting. No more "read more" buttons, no more in-your-face javascript popup, no more loading 24 trackers. Just the article with photos.

    In fact, I'm surprised that RSS hasn't been removed by the hipster designer crowd for being obsolete (because it's old, not because it's useless) and failing to track engagement or whatever. Frankly, I think they've forgotten that it's on their sites.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In fact, I'm surprised that RSS hasn't been removed by the hipster designer crowd

      It has. I run into sites more frequently now that have it disabled.

      • I haven't run into any sites that I care about that don't have an RSS feed (although often they aren't advertised, and you need to look in the HTML header to get the feed URL).

        However, back in the old days -- before RSS was widespread -- I ran a news aggregator and used a scraper to create an RSS feed for those sites that didn't make one themselves. I'm sure those programs still exist.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I am pretty sure that saying RSS feeds are more useful than facebook and twitter for tracking news, is not exactly a ringing endorsement

  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Monday September 11, 2017 @11:36AM (#55174787)

    Because RSS doesn't ask you for your email, address, credit card numbers, doesn't try and track you to the end of the world and doesn't resell your information and web browsing patterns.

    RSS is an open standard that anyone can use, Facebook and Twitter are proprietary, closed commercial platforms controlled by a handful of entities including, I'm guessing, NSA/CIA/FBI/etc.

  • You’re in full control of what’s in your feed and what isn’t, so you don’t get friends and colleagues throwing links into your feeds that you’ve got no interest in reading.

    Facebook, Twitter, and Google don't want you to be in control and will likely be doing everything in their power to try to kill RSS.

    I expect that they will sooner or later force web sites to make a choice between providing RSS feeds and being features on their sites. I also expect that those companies will tr

    • It seems unlikely that they'd try to do any of that (let alone succeed). However, that's purely a "cross that bridge if we come to it" sort of thing.

      • It seems unlikely that they'd try to do any of that (let alone succeed).

        You are terribly naive. Google and Facebook have killed lots of other formerly widespread protocols and replaced them with proprietary services and protocols that they can monetize. Of course they are trying to do the same for RSS.

        • Such as?

          • by Anonymous Coward

            protocols/services like: USENET, XMPP, IMAP/SMTP, RSS, ...

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

            "In August 2009, Verizon announced that it would discontinue access to Usenet on September 30, 2009.[62][63] JANET(UK) announced it will discontinue Usenet service, effective July 31, 2010, citing Google Groups as an alternative.[64] Microsoft announced that it would discontinue support for its public newsgroups (msnews.microsoft.com) from June 1, 2010, offering web forums as an alternative.[65]"

  • by WoodburyMan ( 1288090 ) on Monday September 11, 2017 @11:53AM (#55174945)

    I use TinyTinyRSS https://tt-rss.org/ [tt-rss.org] . I have it setup on a small shared hosting plan I have with a Let's Encrypt SSL for security. I have a cron job that runs and checks for git updates and processing them updating it to the latest rolling release, as well as running every 5-10 minutes to check for new feeds. They have an AMAZING mobile app that even has offline support. Very handy when I was on a 5-hour flight the other day to download all feeds and stories and read later on the plane. If you have a shared hosting account available to you, this is the way. It has options for logins, even multiple users. The app will save your user/password if you'd like. This is also how I came and found this article. I used Feedly in the past but found TTS much easier to use and did not rely on ANY 3rd party services. After being burned by Google Reader, I felt this was a must.

    • I really, really love TT-RSS, but have to disagree with you about the mobile app -- I don't think it's amazing, I think it's pretty bad. I recommend gReader instead. It has all of the features of the TT-RSS mobile app (and a whole lot more), works very well with TT-RSS, and it's much nicer to use.

  • My Yahoo has done this forever.

    AOL Reader is another one, released just when Google Reader was killed off.

  • $ sudo apt-get install rss2email

    $ r2e new you@yourmail.com
    $ r2e add feedname http://feed.url/somewhere.rss
    $ r2e run

    The last command should be put into your crontab.

    Now you get new articles automatically delivered straight to your email. setup mail filters, or whatever you like.

    Tip: craigslist has custom rss feeds for each search. So you can use rss2email to notify you of new posts matching your search.

  • by grumpy-cowboy ( 4342983 ) on Monday September 11, 2017 @12:10PM (#55175071)

    RSS is simple. Decentralized. And if you don't have a RSS feed on your site, you don't exists (at least for me).

  • If anyone is looking for neat Linux news, techy stuff, or just weird, random research articles I find sometimes, follow my Twitter @TheOuterLinux. I probably got about 10-15 RSS feeds (and growing) I filter through; I made an RSS filter to Twitter script using rsstail and twidge.
  • Every time RSS comes up, I think, "Yeah, I should look into that." And then I poke around, and it seems like every one I find is a paid service. Are they all that way? Am I just looking in the wrong places? I am slightly interested in a push feed for some web sites that I follow which post erratically (a web comic here, a blog there) but it's just not worth paying cash for something, over, say, just loading the page in a browser once or twice a day.

    • Most RSS feeds that I've seen are free. It probably depends on what sites you're looking at, though. Also, RSS is not push technology, so you'd have to poll them.

  • I want to extract a timeline of specific events (in this case, the scheduling for corporate earnings announcements and conference calls) from some giant news feed like BusinessWire.

    Is there a very easy way to do this?

    I know it's not rocket science. I could write code to do it. But I like easy answers. Is there a super easy way to generate this data?

  • So I use Feedly (and Newsify on iOS), and it's pretty good. I went looking around recently, and most of the free options are legitimately terrible. They don't support OPML, or they're restricted in a way that's really obnoxious. I'm okay with good services trying to monetize, though, so it's not that big a deal. But if you're looking for something that's free, your options are thin on the ground.

    Then when you get to clients, it's surprising how many fail on basic interface things, even when you're paying, p

    • Time for a shameless plug.

      I've been working on and off on my RSS reader iOS app for a few years (more off than on, actually), trying to keep it simple and up to date. I use it daily so it scratches my itches pretty well. Doesn't rely on any centralized RSS services and fetches feeds directly from the sites, supports only OPML import as I haven't gotten to implementing exporting yet. I'm currently preparing an update that finally looks decent on an iPad. And it costs a cup of coffee.

  • From the article and blindly copied into the /. submission:

    One of the main reasons RSS is so beloved of news gatherers is that it catches everything a site publishes -- not just the articles that have proved popular with other users, not just the articles from today, not just the articles that happened to be tweeted out while you were actually staring at Twitter. Everything. In our age of information overload that might seem like a bad idea, but RSS also cuts out everything you don't want to hear about. You

  • Bubble effect is still there with RSS, because you only have the news from the sources you configured. But at least it does not reinforce itself, as an algorithm would push on you the news it decided you should like.

  • What the summary said is true for the default Facebook news feed, but not for a Facebook list. You can add pages that you're subscribed to onto a Facebook list, and when you look at the list, it will show all posts from all of those pages in chronological order. Just keep scrolling down, and you'll see all the older posts from those pages.

This screen intentionally left blank.

Working...