RSS and interoperability

As Facebook and other social media platforms continue to face scrutiny about anti-trust behaviors, I’m again reminded of the benefits of RSS.

RSS (really simple syndication) is a way that people can share a feed with others. It’s historically used largely for blogging, allowing others to subscribe to your blog and receive it in an RSS reader like Feedly or similar. Today it’s also used for podcasting – the feed is needed to submit your podcast to all directories (iTunes, Spotify, etc).

RSS works because of it’s interoperability. Anyone can publish a feed, and anyone can subscribe to the feed. There’s very little lock-in in any way.

I think it’s important to recognize that RSS is widely used, and optimal in many ways. Here are some of the feeds I subscribe to (non-podcast) and enjoy:

  • Seth’s blog:
  • Marginal Revolution:
  • Signal v. Noise from Basecamp:
  • LensRentals:
  • Stratechery:
  • Patio11’s blog:
  • RED camera’s forum:
  • Matthew Duclos:
  • WordPress News:
  • … and about 30 more.

This gives me a good news background in marketing, economics, photo/video, tech strategy, WordPress, and other smaller topics. It would be very difficult for me to get this same level of understanding on this range of topics without the existence of RSS!