Jack Baty

Director of Unspecified Services

I won't be joining RSS Club

When I first learned of RSS Club I thought, "Cool! How fun!"

The website says:

Congratulations on joining a secret society! RSS Club is a collection of blogs (personal and otherwise) committed to providing RSS-only content. It’s like a newsletter delivered to your feed reader in order to celebrate the medium of RSS and breakaway from social media.

Something has been bugging me about it, though.

I love RSS. I spend a crazy amount of time in a feed reader. I want everyone to use RSS and I want every website to publish an RSS feed or three.

So what's the problem with having some content only available via RSS?

Fair question. For me it's because it feels exclusionary with a touch of Insiderism. Mostly, though, it's that blogging itself has enough problems with adoption. I'm not sure it's a great idea to be "hiding" blog posts. Good blogs are hard enough to find these days. Why limit your writing to only those people who've already discovered you?

I totally get, and agree with, the concept of getting our stuff out of social networks, but aren't blogs already doing that?

My current thinking is that our little blogging society doesn't need secrecy, it needs visibility.

RSS Club is a fun idea and I do like the "it's like a newsletter delivered to your feed reader..." bit. What I don't love is it feels like it's advocating for RSS (a good thing) by limiting the visibility of cool content (not a good thing, IMO).

There's also some hypocrisy on my part here. I've created a way in my blog to publish things on the home page that never appear anywhere else, including the RSS feed. You need to actually visit my site in order to read it. Perhaps that's what the RSS-only content is meant to be, too.

Anyway, I love experiments like RSS Club. What I've written here are just my current feelings about it, and they are very much subject to change.