in blogging, tech, wordpress

How I Follow Blogs on the Open Internet

Colin Devroe’s post about Fred Wilson’s post about how hard it is to follow blogs on the Open Internet is interesting to me.

Ok, before we go any further, yes, this is very meta. Yes, I could have written this entire thing as comments on Colin’s blog (no, it doesn’t support comments) or Fred’s blog (has nice disqus comments) but I didn’t because that’s the point of blogging. I can write this ‘commentary’ on my blog. Sort of like Greek philosophers writing entire books just discussing each other’s books. Very meta indeed.

Moving on, Fred calls out David Jackson’s blog “A Founder’s Notebook” for not being on Tumblr, where Fred could easily follow it with the click of a button. Well, David’s blog is actually on, so if Fred had an account there, he could easily have followed it there with just one click (I followed it like that, because I have an account on WordPress).

The problem with all of this is that Tumblr, and other such hosted services (psst, Posterous) are someone else’s platforms. Things change abruptly, companies get bought, policies change, users get evicted and other bad things happen. So while it might be ‘cool’ and easy to hit Follow on a tumblog or a WordPress site, it’s far more permanent to host an independent blog with RSS/Atom/Email Subscription so that people can follow your posts without depending on a service that might turn it’s back at any time.

This brings us to Google Reader, the RSS reading service that did turn it’s back on us some time ago. Yes, it left the Feed reading ecosystem in turmoil, but it allowed for experimentation and growth and diversification and a lot of other fancy words.

Finally, I use Fever RSS reader. I’ve had it for some time now and I’m a strong proponent of it. One of the best features of Fever is the Fever feedlet. This bookmarklet is awesome because you could be on any blog or any site and if you just press it, the feedlet will scurry along and find the RSS or Atom feed of the blog (it’ll even find multiple feeds if the site has them, many news sites do) and add it to my Fever installation. It’s really that simple. It’s really one click.

So yes, Google Reader is dead and everyone has abandoned Feedburner (another superb One-Click solution) but the One Click subscribe idea isn’t dead. If your feed reader doesn’t do it, ask the devs to build something like it. They’ll definitely build something for you.


p.s. This blog post was mostly written with Barley for WordPress and I am Loving it!

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