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On June 17, 2022, Mr. Matt Rickard, a software engineer, published a blog post titled Thoughts on RSS on his personal website. His RSS thoughts are interesting, and I encourage you to read the original post for yourself (I agree with some, but not all, of his thoughts). Here, I will focus on the opening to Mr. Rickard’s post:

No technology other than RSS has had more think pieces written proclaiming the death of RSS (2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013) and the rebirth of RSS (2009, 2010, 2011, 2018, 2018, 2019).

Matt Rickard

(Note that Mr. Rickard included links for every year he listed in support of his point.)

I nodded when I read that passage. While I have been familiar with RSS for more than a decade, I only started reading content about RSS in the last couple of years. It did not escape my notice that much of the RSS content focuses on the supposed death of RSS (usually tied to Google’s axing its RSS reader, Google Reader, in 2013) and the supposed rebirth of RSS (which necessarily presupposes that RSS had died). The debate over whether RSS is dead, alive, or in some state of dying or being reborn may well be the real keyboard warrior version (as opposed to the figurative keyboard warriors) of those incessant debates sports commentators have about whether the player of the moment is better than the player of yesteryear (often at the expense of simply analyzing what is happening with the player of today ).

Public domain image of a flower with an RSS symbol as the flower.
An RSS flower. Public domain image retrieved from Openclipart.

The New Leaf Journal is a firmly pro-RSS (as well as pro-ATOM and JSON) publication. I wrote an entire guide to the basic concepts underpinning RSS, ATOM, and JSON feeds, articles advocating for the consumption of contents via feeds in lieu of Facebook and Twitter, and explaning how to find RSS feeds for Substack newsletters. The New Leaf Journal has a hub page for all of its feeds (RSS, ATOM, and JSON) and I maintain a page with links to my feeds from around the web. It should go without saying that The New Leaf Journal stands firmly on the side of those who hold the view that RSS never died, thus rendering nugatory the need for pieces about its death or rebirth.

However, while RSS and its sister feed formats are alive and well, awareness of feed formats and how to consume content through a curated feed list is lacking. Thus, instead of mourning RSS or celebrating its return, I will publish more content advocating for the benefits of feeds and reviewing specific feed reading solutions.