Last update: 20:14, 28/01/21


Parent: Post ideas

Thoughts on Robin Rendle's essay "Newsletters"

Agree with his basic premise - things are too hard!
This is my main complaint about the indieweb but it extends to so much more.

There are some incorrect assertions:

"I reckon rss never reached critical scale for websites because it was never built into the browser itself."

  • It used to be in Safari
  • Internet Explorer used to have integrated RSS functionality

Websites today ... "Can’t notify people of new work" and "if we could subscribe to websites easily then the web itself might not feel quite so forgettable."

RSS, obviously, but there are also Desktop Notifications where sites can send pop-up messages - supported by Chrome, Safari and other webkit based browsers

Agree that RSS should be better supported, easier to subscribe to
Does it need to be rebranded or completely changed?

Feedly lets you put in an address and it will find the feed for you
NetNewsWire re-ads an RSS button to Safari that lights up when there is a feed you can subscribe to - no need to go looking for it

I'm not saying these technologies are perfect - far from it - but they exist.

But it needs to be far more obvious, far more centralised

He says:

"The failure here wasn’t the technology but the distance between rss and how we browse the web."

"Newsletters killed blogs because…"

Wrong! Social media "killed" blogs (although that is an over-exaggeration)

And that's where social networks got it right - going back to the idea that reading, replying and posting are next to each other in the same interface - easy to switch from consume to create.

The problem is one of convenience - people don't want to worry about websites anymore because they get everything they want from Facebook/Instagram/Twitter - it's the lazyweb.

"All I know is that the web today is not made for us. It’s no longer made for people to send charming bits of texts to strangers."

There are people looking to reclaim the web, hence the whole indieweb movement, but not enough. The problem is making more people care about this stuff.

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