How to Follow Your Favorite Sites Without Using Social Media

RSS is the best way to stay on top of the articles published by your favorite sites.

How to Follow Your Favorite Sites Without Using Social Media
Photo by Taras Shypka / Unsplash

Long before social media became many people's primary source of news, RSS served as a way to stay on top of the articles published to your favorite sites.

RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication." In short, it allows applications to aggregate many different feeds into a single interface.

There are many benefits to this:

A Better Reading Experience

Following blogs and news sites via RSS is a much calmer way to read them, because it filters out the noise that comes from social networks. Plus, RSS readers typically just show you the body of the article, so you can focus on its content, rather than the other distractions on the webpage.

Escape the Filter Bubble

RSS readers let you read what's being published in chronological order, rather than serving up whatever they think will be most engaging. It's a little bit like your own personal newspaper, and you can even separate feeds into different categories.

No Ads

Because RSS readers pull just the text of the article, it's a relatively ad-free way to experience the web. Plus, it doesn't have to cost you anything.

Getting Started

To begin, sign up for an account with a free service like Feedly. Once you're in, you'll be able to search for and add your favorite sites. The sources you follow will appear in the sidebar, and you can view them individually, by category, or as one giant feed.

Feedly's search interface for adding new sources.

You can stick with Feedly as your RSS reader, but there are many more elegant apps available that will synchronize your list of sources from Feedly. I'm partial to Reeder for iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Follow This Blog

This site is divided into two top-level sections: daily blog posts and more technical guides like this one.

To follow everything, you can add this url to your RSS reader:

You can even follow a specific topic. Just add "/rss" without the quotes to the end of any topic's url. Here's an example you could use if you only wanted to receive #mindfulness posts:

Happy reading!