Power user Riki Fridrich shares his thoughts on RSS, his workflow, and FlowReader.
1) Many people say RSS is dying out or dead, do you agree?
There are three types of people on the internet: creators, curators and consumers.
1% create new and original content. Another 9% are curators, who sift through the content, looking for stuff worth sharing with others. And then, there is the remaining 90%, who just passively consume the content, occasionally liking something.
To consumers, RSS is definitely dead. Social media is much better – it provides them with fresh content without any effort.
But for curators, RSS is still live and kicking.
2) Would you consider RSS an essential part of your daily routine? How have you configured your reader to fit into your workflow?
I try to be something between a creator and a curator. So yes, RSS is very important for me. I follow lots of sources, which are often very obscure and have only a few followers. Without RSS, content from these sources would never reach me via social media. There wouldn’t be enough likes and reshares for it to bubble up.
For me, an RSS reader is a tool to go through all the new stuff and decide what is worthy of my attention. I shouldn’t even call it an RSS *reader* because frankly, I never read anything in it. I just scan the list of items from my feeds, and I send the most interesting ones to a different application to read later on.
3) What RSS reader do you use and are there any other tools you use to grab feeds?
I was a Google Reader user from the beginning to the end. It worked well, and I had no reason to ever consider looking for an alternative. After Google killed it off, I started using Feedly. It was the first service that was the most similar to Google Reader.
I also use Pocket (formerly Read It Later) for actually reading the content.
4) How do you find and choose what feeds to add to your RSS reader?
Whenever I come across really interesting content, I always look at other articles on that website. Are there any other interesting ones, or is this a one time hit? If there’s more, I send the website to my RSS reader.
If I feel like one of my feeds has become too spammy or lost its mojo, I remove it. Some feeds I’ve been following for many years. Some had to go after a week.
5) How do you think we could improve FlowReader? What features would you like to see from us in the future?
I like simple, one purpose tools. Personally, I don’t care about the Facebook or Twitter integration. These are services that are from different worlds in my opinion, and I don’t want their content mixed in with my RSS feeds. I also don’t use categories, tagging, or anything like that.
When I use RSS reader, I rapidly move through content, pressing keyboard shortcuts: next, next, next, save for later, next, next…
So, it would be great to make FlowReader simpler, faster, more linear.
A great feature to add would be analytics to help me clean-up my list of RSS feeds. Something that would tell me: “You have skipped every item from this list in last three months. Would you like to remove it?” Another killer feature would be smart recommendations for better feeds: “In the last three months, you have skipped most of the items in this list, except for stuff from category XYZ. Would you like to only follow the feeds from category XYZ instead?”