Hello, again

I've declared bankrupcy on my old blog and am starting over. I was working on replatforming my old site from Jekyll to Eleventy, and reading over the old posts, I just felt like it was time to let those old writings go.

While I've been working on this project for an embarassingly long amount of time, I feel like right now is a real moment of change in a lot of people's online publishing world. Maybe people don't think of themselves as being writers (or "content creators"), but that's what posting to twitter or any other social media site is: Writing things and publishing them to the internet-- content you write for free and owned by someone else to make money off of.

Those of us who never gave up on RSS are wondering: is it time for RSS and personal blogs to take center stage once more? The sudden rise of personal newsletters is certainly pointing in that direction, although I can't say publishing to the hellscape that is my email inbox is my cup of tea. What is a newsletter but a semi-private blog post with a list of specific audience members?

The main difference between something like Twitter and RSS is that RSS is pull only. There are no replies, just backlinking. I'm not sure that that is necessarily a bad thing, but it does feel less like a conversation and more like a magazine.

But with personal blogs and RSS subscriptions, not only do you own your own content, but you also curate your own reading experience, without the "help" from algorythms. Some people complain that their RSS feeds "fill" up and they feel bad about it, but I would argue RSS is more like a social media feed and less like an email inbox. You just dip in and catch up as much as you want. You can't inbox zero the internet.

I sure hope we see some improvements to RSS as a format as well as the products around it, AND new publishing platforms that make it much easier to put many different forms of content out there in ways that anyone can consume. I think there is a lot of room in this space for new approaches, especially around ways of sharing, linking and responding to content in distributed ways that don't require everyone downloading the same app and signing up for the same service.

RSS has been the quiet backbone of the internet for a very long time, and if it continues to simmer without the glitz and clamor of social media products, that's fine by me.