How to follow websites you like with a RSS reader
You don’t need Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or any other social media platform to “follow” your interests on the web, whether that be people, organizations, news, podcasts, or blogs.
The “follow” button was not invented by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or any other social media platform. Neither were feeds.
Most websites have a “feed” or a “RSS feed” or “RSS.”
What is RSS?
RSS allows user to subscribe to receive notifications from websites when there is new content published (e.g. article, podcast, etc). Inversely, RSS allows a website to let subscribers know when there is an update: a new blog post, article, podcast, or picture, for instance.
For the last decade or so, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram have been the middle-men between followers and followees.
As the middle-men those platforms grant themselves the rights to decide what you see. They have also cluttered your feeds with advertisements, unsolicited news and unwanted notifications.
RSS allows you to decide for yourself. You can create and curate your own feed. There are no algorithms, no advertisements.
How to follow RSS feeds of websites you like?
Essentially, there are two steps:
- download a RSS reader on your phone and/or laptop
- subscribe to RSS feeds of websites you like
Download a RSS reader
There are many RSS readers you can use. For this example, I will use NetNewsWire (MacOS, download https://ranchero.com/netnewswire/)
Subscribe to RSS feed(s)
All you have to do is copy the URL of the website you want to subscribe to. Below is how to do step by step.
Click on the ‘+’ sign at the top-left of the RSS reader
Paste the URL of the website you would like to subscribe to, and click ‘Add’
Here you go! All new updates will show up in that feed.