Blogrolls are the best artifacts of the Early World Wide Web. Or Weird Wide Web if you like. As you would look at someone’s collection of books or vinyl, the same goes for blogrolls. It gives the reader, the digital wanderer, more avenues and alleyways (thank you Rancid) to discover.

I follow over 200 personal blogs in my RSS reader. Some people’s blogs I’ll read every post, some I’ll skim, some I keep to glance over post titles to see what is going in that person’s world.

I wish there was an easy way to keep a webpage in sync with the OPML file in my reader. The thought of manually keeping my blogroll in sync with my feed would be too time consuming. Though maybe it would be a fun project to post about 3-5 blogs I follow every week. Then again, I already share blogs and posts that interest me on my blog and it might be too redundant.

Even so, some will only read posts via RSS and never visit the site at all – changes to look, feel and functionality will be irrelevant to them as long as the feed keeps getting generated.

Hey, that’s me! I don’t think I’ve ever re-visited anyone’s blog after adding their feed to my reader. I do try and remind myself of this fact too when I find myself endlessly tinkering with the most minor details of my websites appearance. It is a little unfortunate because most bloggers do spend a great deal of time making their website pleasing to read on. Nothing beats having it all in an RSS reader though.

I had a lengthy post written about strategies on how to browse the internet without distraction. But after writing it I realized that it in essence it boiled down into two practices:

  • Consume all of your web content through RSS feeds. [1] [2]
  • Set aside time to read your RSS feed once or twice a day. [3]

That’s it. No more infinite scroll, no more FOMO, no more clickbait, no more distraction, no more provocation.

[1] If a website doesn’t offer RSS, don’t bother trying to read it. Don’t surrender your time and attention to anyone who doesn’t value it, or worse, is trying to commodify it. I know it will feel like you’re missing out, but there is a pretty clear correlation between websites that offer RSS and websites with content worth your time.

[2] Even social media. If your social media platform of choice doesn’t offer RSS, it’s not worth your time. Not being able to “interact” with posts is a feature, not a bug, of RSS. I put “interact” in quotes because tapping an icon on a screen is hardly a real interaction anyway. A reply is always better, but comment boxes and social media replies encourage more volatile reactions due to how easy they are to send. An email, webmention, or blog post is always a more thoughtful interaction.

[3] I’ve uninstalled my RSS reader on my phone as I found I felt I was refreshing my feeds whenever I had a spare moment wherever I was.