Email and RSS are Quiet

Posted on 02/19/2022 in misc

I saw a post on Mastodon where somebody was explaining RSS to a couple of millennial coworkers, and the thing that sort of clicked for them was the idea that you could follow content without needing an account. They’ve only known a walled garden online experience. That is sad.

In that thread, somebody mentioned that they prefer RSS and email because it’s quiet. That really resonated with me. Anytime you read anything on social media, the algorithm is working to distract you towards the next shiny thing. The reading experience is distracting. It’s noisy. When you read email and RSS in an open source tool like Thunderbird (or many others), you don’t have that distraction. There is nothing in the platform actively trying to get your attention. It’s quiet.

I think that is an important point, and a strong argument in favor of communicating more via RSS and email, and less via the noisy channels. I know “people” have been predicting the demise of email forever, but it’s still here and still useful for a reason. Spam is mostly a solved problem for the end user, and it’s an open platform (IMAP/SMTP) that nobody can control. Likewise with RSS. I’d argue that since Spotify “podcasts” are not available via RSS, they aren’t actually podcasts. They are Spotifycasts or something lame like that. If I can’t listen with an open source podcast tool, it’s not a podcast.

If you have stuff to say that goes beyond Tweet length, get a blog. Start writing. It’s good for your brain. It’s good for the Internet.

The Mastodon thread

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I like hearing from readers, all three of you! Nobody comments on blogs anymore, and I'd rather not use Facebook or Twitter as a comment system so it's back to the email.