A Practical Guide to RSS

how to get started in 2 minutes and what feeds to follow
  •  20 mins  •  
RSS

So, you want to do one or more of the above: ‘get off social media’, avoid spending so much time doomscrolling and chasing dopamine, get a broader media diet, read more widely, etc. And you want to do this now before you lose motivation? This is the post for you.

This post is for people who’ve already decided to use RSS. If you haven’t decided yet, read my other RSS post.

There are only 2 steps in your RSS journey:

Pick a RSS reader.

There are many. You want one that is easy-to-use, and cross-platform (so you can use the same one on your phone and computer).

You probably want to use Feedly. It’s easy to use, looks decent, and can be used on every major platform. Here are the links for iOS and Android so you can get it now.

If you don’t want to use Feedly for some reason, also consider: Flipboard, or Newsify (iOS), Palabre (Android), or Flynn (Android).

I use BazQux myself, which you can trial for free, but it’s not for everybody.

Find some feeds

If you’re using Feedly, as you probably should be, finding some feeds to add is as simple as typing some search terms into the search bar. You can search by topic: ‘technology’, ‘Australia news’, ‘sourdough’, ‘pokemon’, etc and Feedly will suggest some relevant feeds. You can also try adding feeds from sources you already know, such as your local newspaper, or some other website or blog you know.

So you can get started quickly, I’ve included some of my recommendations categorised by topic below.

RSS feeds are URLs to a chunk of text in a special format that RSS readers parse. Depending on your browser and the feed in question, they might display in a human-readable way, but in others they might just display as some unreadable XML text, never finish loading (because they try and fail to load as webpages), or your browser might try to download them as a file.

What you want to do is just copy the URLs below and paste each one into your RSS feeder. In Feedly, you paste it into the add new feed / search box. Feedly should detect the feed, and you can then add it.

Consider adding some less well-known sources above. One of the benefits of RSS is it lets you keep up with many feeds no matter how niche they are or unfrequently they update, whereas these may be lost or deprioritised in your standard social media newsfeed.

It’s possible to share all your RSS subscriptions at one go (including categorisations) via an OPML file, and some people do make theirs public, but I have a lot and some are private and specific to me so I’ve extracted the ones that will probably be most useful to you below.

I’ll add more feed categories soon.

World News

I don’t follow these myself because they pump out too much content and I usually learn about events from other sources anyway, but you might want to consider:

Asia News

Singapore News

UK News

Technology

For general technology news, I like:

Products (things you can use and buy):

Tech policy, trajectory, broader trends, etc (some of the above may also cover this):

Asian tech news:

European tech news:

Cool hardware projects, weird electronic hacks, etc:

Some of my more niche feeds:

Finance

People I follow

A non-exhaustive selection:

Humour

Jokes:

Drawings and comics:

Videos:

Social Media

Yes, part of the reason you use RSS might be to get off social media. But you might want or need to subscribe to certain content that can only be found on social media. Here’s how to do it via RSS:

If getting certain content that’s only available on social media is important to you, consider using a premium RSS service with social media feed extraction capabilities. Feedly Pro+ handles Twitter feeds well, and has an experimental RSS Builder that can be used to create RSS feeds from any social media site. BazQux handles Facebook, Twitter, and Instragram feeds well too (and comments on many sites, including Reddit).

Discovering RSS feeds

A lot of standard-issue software has RSS built in. Here are some tips for unearthing RSS feeds which are not clearly publicised:

Also, Feedly and BazQux are smart. Often, simply pasting the website’s URL into Feedly/BazQux will do the job.