San Francisco, California

The Rise and Demise of RSS

Sinclair Target on what RSS is and where it went:

...two decades later, RSS appears to be a dying technology, now used chiefly by podcasters and programmers with tech blogs. Moreover, among that latter group, RSS is perhaps used as much for its political symbolism as its actual utility. Though of course some people really do have RSS readers, stubbornly adding an RSS feed to your blog, even in 2018, is a reactionary statement. That little tangerine bubble has become a wistful symbol of defiance against a centralized web increasingly controlled by a handful of corporations, a web that hardly resembles the syndicated web of Werbach’s imagining.

The future once looked so bright for RSS. What happened? Was its downfall inevitable, or was it precipitated by the bitter infighting that thwarted the development of a single RSS standard?

I love how the concept of RSS was being worked on by a bunch of different people at once. Although it’s still a damn shame that the community around it is dwindling, I wrote about why RSS is still so important to me a while back:

...instead of being just another way to get posts from blogs that you were interested in, RSS fostered countless communities and friendships across oceans, across networks. And because of that I now think of RSS as a window into a room with the smartest, kindest people — and sometimes, on the rarest of occasions, they would open up the window and wave back.