Me Myself&I

The future of RSS is RSS


The goal is interop between social media apps and the features writers need.

Social media apps don’t matter and are an addictive mess in which people don’t read. It’s flame wars and egos. It is pointless and gamed to oblivion. Stop trying to do something with them. Quit them.

What we’re doing: Moving documents between networked apps. We need a set of common features in order for it to work.

We already have this, times a million. RSS does this just fine. Bookmarks in a browser as well. Email is ubiquitous.

The features are motivated by the needs of writers. Not by programmers or social media company execs.

The writers only need an online platform to share their writing. Again, we have this times a million. I’d suggest WordPress, but you can go ahead with anything today. If you’re a writer and want your platform, get your server, deploy your platform, write. Period.

Everyday users need a default writer and reader.

Again, we already have that, and I disagree that it should be one app for all. You can never satisfy everyone UX/UI wise which is why it’s important to have diversity here. The protocol needs not to change. The apps? They should. I agree that native apps should be fantastic, as this really makes it so much more enjoyable to use. Having a RSS reader that stalls every single time you click on a feed, is horrible. One that makes it a fluid experience and has great text rendering, will make you open it every single day.

I will also go as far as saying that styling of HTML content from the internet should be rendered as the reader wants it. If I prefer Times New Roman for everything I read, I should be able to decide that. If I prefer green fonts size 45 with black background, you shouldn’t be enforcing another style on me. I’m here for the writing, not the styling.

We need user and content discovery.

Curation is a reader’s job and it should stay this way. Why? Because content discovery becomes a middle man managed by an entity, which will be biased or corrupt at some point. Every person is different and should seek what they want. Also, serendipity needs to happen. Website names are usually enough. If someone is big or interesting, you will hear back from them sooner than later (this is how Dave’s blog and ended up in my RSS reader). Also simply put, it is impossible to do content discovery right at the scale of the internet. We’re all different. Understand what you look for, and look for it.

We need metrics.

Metrics are useless and game-able. Thus, even more useless. But the biggest problem to me is that it pushes writers to become 1 dimensional (oh, I had 10x more readers for this, so now I’ll only write about that). It killed the mid-2000s blogging era. That usually sparks a downright spiral in quality, and soon ads come up because you’re a “business” now that you look at your metrics every single day. That’s unhealthy. Write. Just write. If it gets big, publishers will know and contact you.

We need moderation.

You write. I read. Close your comments if you need to. Moderate them heavily if you don’t. But the “need for moderation” is not necessary because the vast majority of writers don’t have millions of readers coming in to comment. And if you do (super ultra rare person) have thousands of commenters ready to comment, a platform like WordPress has all the tools for you to deal with it. Also conversations in comments used to happen. Now people just try to be the main character.

Social media is not writing and never was. It’s snarky BS. Dave himself keeps saying that on his blog so I’m not sure why he also wants to connect with those apps. Writing online is an old thing, and we have all the tools already.

Get your server/domain. Deploy your platform. Write.

(that Kottke post is a perfect example of a programmer trying to reinvent the wheel once again, and a designer focusing on features that most readers/writers don’t need)

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