[Curator’s note] A response from Brent Simmons to Sinclair Target’s article on Two-Bit History
Every now and again there’s a thing about the tragedy of RSS. Ugh.
I want to make a few points.
One is that, as Greg Reinacker once said, RSS is plumbing.
Another is that millions of mainstream users rely on it — for podcasting, especially, but also because it powers other things that they use. They don’t know that there’s RSS under the hood, and that’s totally fine.
Another is that it’s not necessary for RSS readers to become mass-market, mainstream apps. I’m sure I never said they would be, and I don’t remember anyone else from the early days of RSS saying they would be, either.
It’s totally fine if RSS readers are just used by journalists, bloggers, researchers, and people who like to read. Yes! It’s a-okay.
But note that everyone who uses Twitter and whatever else, and who follows those people, are benefiting indirectly from RSS. RSS is, often, where the links come from in the first place before they show up on social networks.