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Antisocial Social Media: RSS Feeds

Created: January 03, 2022; Modified: January 03, 2022

Table of Contents

- Introduction
- Feed synchronization with a self-hosted FreshRSS instance
- RSS readers
- Desktop RSS feed reader: Newsboat
- Mobile RSS feed reader: NetNewsWire
- RSS generation tools
- Removing Twitter from my life
- Killing the noise with Kill the Newsletter
- Podcasts


I have been using RSS feeds as my top resource of getting updated for a while. Following the latest posts and news through RSS feeds made my life much less noisy. In this post, I will share my experience about how I actively use RSS feeds as my day-to-day routine. Therefore, I am not going to explain how to install and configure the tools in this post.

              +----------------+                +-------------------+
              |  FreshRSS/api  |   Fetch feeds  | FreshRSS/Feedlist |
              |     Server     |                |       Server      |
              +--------+-------+                +-------------------+
                   Sync feeds
      |                |               |
      |                |               |
      v                v               v
+-----+----+     +-----+----+   +------+------+
| Newsboat |     | Newsboat |   | NetNewsWire |
+----------+     +----------+   +-------------+
| Home PC  |     | Work PC  |   |   Mobile    |
+----------+     +----------+   +-------------+

Figure: Flow diagram of the system.

Feed synchronization with a self-hosted FreshRSS instance

Using a simple RSS feed reader is good enough if you have only one device. In my case, I read the feeds with my home PC sometimes. Sometimes, I read them with my mobile phone. And some other times I read them with my work PC. So, the status of my feeds (read, starred, etc.) should be synced all the time. To do so, I use FreshRSS installed on my server. The reason I use FreshRSS as my RSS feed aggregator is that FreshRSS is supported by my mobile RSS reader which is the only (as far as I know) free and open source RSS feed reader for iOS. A cron job for FreshRSS fetches all feeds I subscribed. Then, I can read the feeds using the web interface of FreshRSS. Another option is that an RSS reader (client) sends requests to FreshRSS API to get new feeds. After that I can read new feeds with the client. The installation and configuration of FreshRSS is quite straightforward. The only issue I had was with the client I used (Newsboat). Since I did not configure the Apache webserver correctly, the client could not fetch the feeds. See the issue.

RSS readers

Desktop RSS feed reader: Newsboat

Newsboat is a CLI feed reader. It is free and open source. The best thing about Newsboat for me is that it is highly configurable. For instance, I set Vim-like keybindings (this is very important to me).

Mobile RSS feed reader: NetNewsWire

I used to own a MacBook and iPhone together (wasn't a fan boy). I used NetNewsWire as my RSS feed reader since it could synchronize the feeds across my iPhone and Mac. Since then, I love reading my feeds with NetNewsWire.

RSS generation tools

Removing Twitter from my life

I had a Twitter account since 2010. Lately, I was feeling very distracted by Twitter. It is because Twitter was showing me some random tweets not even related to my interests. Even though the tweet was not related to my interests, I found myself reading the replies to the tweet. I did not want to spend my time with reading nonsense political rant from some random dude. So, I decided to delete my Twitter account. However, I still wanted to read tweets from some nice people on Twitter. I found Nitter which is a free and open source alternative Twitter front-end. It provides RSS feeds for Twitter. So, I added RSS feeds of some Twitter users I like to my feed.

For other websites that do not have RSS feeds, I use RSS-Brige. It is a community-driven tool to generate feeds from some popular websites. Check some public hosts at https://github.com/RSS-Bridge/rss-bridge/wiki/Public-hosts.

Killing the noise with Kill the Newsletter

I am really good at subscribing to newsletters. I am even better at deleting the newsletter mails without reading them. At this point, Kill the Newsletter helped me a lot. It is a free and open source project which converts email newsletters into RSS feeds.

It basicaly provides you a dummy mail address. Then, you can subscribe to any newsletter with that email address. After that, you can subscribe to RSS feed for the newsletter by using the link from Kill the Newsletter. That's it. You no longer need to delete mail newsletters from your main mailbox.


Podcast listening platforms use RSS feeds too. Therfore, we can simply use RSS feed aggregators to get notified when there is a new episode of our favorite podcast.

If you have any questions or comment, send me an email:

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