Mac360 adopted the RSS standard back in the early days as an easy and inexpensive way for readers to subscribe to our daily musings and reviews.
In essence, using an RSS reader gives you quick access to website articles that come to your Mac, iPhone, or iPad so you don’t have to worry about bookmarks because you can search through hundreds of articles in minutes to find and save the ones you want to read. Guess what else you’ll find?
If you’ve never used an RSS reader, then read on because you’ll see benefits right away. If you’re an old hand at RSS and have your own subscription list, read on to see how your experience matches mine.
First, I use News Explorer because it is feature laden, syncs subscription lists between Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, and the user interface makes it easy to find and subscribe to RSS feeds from many websites, and once it is setup and running, it just works. Alright, that said, any good RSS reader does much the same thing.
Headlines, summaries, and articles come to your Mac. You don’t have to go looking. One app, one interface, dozens of websites, many hundreds of articles. Everyday. Share them via the macOS or iOS share pane. Make favorites to read later. Integrate with Instapaper or Pocket.
What did I find by using an RSS reader?
Regurgitation to the nth degree. Same old, same old, and on different websites, one after the other. News Explorer lists websites you subscribe to in the lefthand corner. Here’s a look at about half of my RSS subscriptions from Thursday (after pruning).
What’s the problem? You can’t get more efficient, right? Click on a website, view the downloaded headline and summary, click to view and read the whole article. Easy peasy.
What I see in the technology sector is the same as I see in the standard news sector. Regurgitation. The same news and rumors are passed off on each website so what you read on one will show up on two, three, six or seven other websites. What you read on 9to5Mac often shows up on Cult of Mac which can be found on Apple Insider, Macworld, TechCrunch, Computerworld, PCMag and PCWorld, Mashable and many others.
I also found that websites which purport to be A actually are B. Business Insider may be the worst offender because so much of the few hundred articles published each day are eye candy link bait and have zero to do with business. Here are some of the headlines types you’ll see while scrolling through the ever growing list:
- My husband and I tried the Whole30 diet– and it wreaked havoc on our grocery bill
- Trump seemed to place part of the blame for school shootings on violent video games and movies
- The best vacation destination, based on your personality type
- 30 home decorations no one over 30 should own
- Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir never repeated an outfit at the Olympics
- Joanna Gaines proves she’s dominating maternity style as she shows off her baby bump
Hello? It’s Business Insider, not BuzzFeed. Where’s the business news and analysis? Sorry, but BI founder Henry Blodget should be rolling over in his grave. No. Seriously. He should. He’s not because Blodget isn’t dead. But he should.
This trend toward mass regurgitation of the same information and information unrelated to a specific website’s name and personality is out of control. Why? Because things change. When Mac360 started back in 2004, Apple and the Mac were mostly synonymous, but the iPod was up and coming. Macworld, MacDailyNews, AppleInsider, and the rest of us became Apple oriented. News websites were about news. Business websites were about business.Along the way, something changed. Business Insider is a digital drug store of link bait with an astounding array of content that has nothing to do with business.
That trend and the problem becomes easier to see when you grab a few dozen RSS subscriptions and wander through the article headlines and summaries one after the other. What you read in TechCrunch will show up in a dozen other technology websites. What you read in Business Insider is what once showed up in grocery store tabloids.
Use an RSS news reader. They are a wonderful invention to save time and expand your mind. But select your chosen RSS subscriptions with care.