Own your news feed

The internet as your personal source of news has taken many forms, and unfortunately where we have ended for most people is a place where others decide for you what you should be thinking and reading.

In the beginning the web was simple, you just went to the web sites that interested you. Then the number of sites proliferated and you needed help to keep everything organized and the web “portal” was born (which Yahoo was the most famous). They categorized the web sites for you to help make it easy to find what you wanted. Then the web exploded in size and the humans categorizing the portals could not keep up, so other methods were born to cope.

Today most people use Twitter or Facebook to aggregate their web experience. The concept was supposed to be that you could have one web site that would link to the other sites that were interesting to you. You just “follow” people or users and when they publish something interesting you see it. But as we know now the reality is not that simple. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google and others use their bias induced algorithms to present to you the news and links that they think that you should be interested in. You only see what these mega-corporations have decided you should.

If you want to take back your right to have an unfiltered experience where you are in control of what you see without any corporation deciding what you should be allowed, then you are ready for RSS (wikipedia here). Developed in the 90s it is a way for web sites to publish their content in a machine readable format so that the content from multiple sites could be combined by an RSS aggregator or feed-reader, the most popular right now being Feedly.

RSS is simple, you get an account on Feedly (which there are free versions that give abundant capacity), you enter in the web sites you are interested in, sort them into categories if you would like, and then every time the web sites you are tracking publishes a new story you see it on your feed, in an honest and unfiltered format.

Every major news organization has RSS feeds for their site and almost any blog or other source of content does as well.

RSS is simple, it is fully in your control, and a basic was to make sure you are seeing what the web site and sources you are following are truly publishing without censorship or a corporate filter.

It’s time to leave the thought control of Twitter and Facebook and embrace RSS.

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