Return of the blog roll

Published 02 January 2019 category: meta

Personal blogs are making a comeback among web folks. I like this. I have even gone so far as to add a blog roll to this site, so that you can see which blogs I like to read (fwiw).

Personal blogs FTW

When I started getting interested in the web, about 15 years ago, blogs were how I learned new stuff. It was not just learning either, it was reading what interesting people were up to. This is something I heavily used RSS for: the data format that allows easy subscribing to content (or ‘syndication’). In an RSS reader, for whoever is unfamiliar with it, I was able to follow all the feeds I subscribed to in one place.

In the last 5-10 years, Twitter took over a lot of that. I stopped using an RSS reader at some point. If I discovered blog posts, it was because the authors tweeted about them, via round-ups like The Daily Nerd (it was great and is dearly missed) or via newsletters like Rachel Andrew’s CSS Layout News, David A. Kennedy’s A11y Weekly and Zoran Jambor’s CSS Weekly.

Twitter has become a little less attractive recently. They made changes so that third-party apps like Tweetbot are mostly broken. The platform’s leadership fails to deal with the abuse that happens to its users. They keep experimenting with orders that are not historic order… all this made me realise I should go back to consuming blogs directly. I have been gone back to reading blogs through an RSS reader for a couple of months now (I use Feedbin).

There seems to be a revival of RSS, Jonathan Snook noted this week:

I like that RSS seems to be making a very small comeback. I find it easier to keep track of and means I don’t have to be on constant lookout on Twitter for updates.

Sara Soueidan said reading RSS gives less noise:

My RSS reader is like a private, quiet, comfy reading room, compared to Twitter which is more like a crowded, noisy coffee shop.

RSS is a great means to take back control over the web we love from platforms like Twitter. Ben Ubois, founder of Feedbin, a service to read RSS, explicitly says so in his latest blog post, Private by default:

I want Feedbin to be the opposite of Big Social. I think people should have the right not to be tracked on the Internet and Feedbin can help facilitate that.

This is music to my ears.

Earlier this year, NetNewsWire, the 16 year old RSS reader for Mac, was returned to Brent Simmons, its original inventor. He plans to release a new reader, open source, and make it the very best.

Šime Vidas of Web Platform News recently published his list of over 600 RSS feeds, worth a scroll through.

So yes, more people are getting interested in using RSS again. And in personal sites.

This site now has a blog roll

For those who aren’t using it: this site has two RSS feeds: full articles and summaries. You can read them in whichever reader you like, or open the posts in the browser from your RSS reader. Then you’ll see my fonts of choice.

And, as of this week, this site has a blog roll. Blog rolls are lists of (personal) blogs, usually displayed in a sidebar of a website. They have disappeared from a lot of blogs in the past years (I do like Jeremy Keith’s bedroll), but I completely agreed with Marcus Herrmann, when he suggested they should make a comeback. I love blog rolls to discover more people to follow, sometimes outside my own bubble.

On this blog, the blog roll has sites of people whose stuff I like to read. The people that inspire my writing here. The blogs I can recommend. For what it’s worth. I hope more people will follow Marcus’ example.

Comments & mentions (35)

Jon 20 May 2019 17:24:00

Geweldige blog! Het is heel leuk om te lezen. Ik wacht ongeduldig op meer.

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nienke replied: jaaa dit is awesome!
Hidde replied: doe je mee?
Kilian Valkhof replied: Nice! I had one for years but did inventory in 2016 and over half had disappeared, so I removed it in my redesign. Guess I should consider adding one again.
Ana R replied: That's awesome! I'm going to create mine too when I finish my bookmarks page. Seeing yours gave me an idea to better re-use some space in my layout
Paul van Buuren replied: Hint, you can reinstate the good old WordPress link manager with this old & rusty plugin:…
Bob replied: Tof, maar het was wel even zoeken voor ik ‘m gevonden had op mobiel.
Reinier Ladan replied: Mobile killed the blogroll.
Hidde replied: je had de link kunnen volgen in de post, naar #blog-roll ghehehehe
Tim Severien replied: I'm not in the blog roll. But I should probably blog more first
Hidde replied: thanks for this bug report, will fix
Scott O'Hara replied: nor am i, but that ok :)
Sachin replied: Making single color SVG icons work in dark mode…
marrije schaake replied: RSS FTW!!!
Johan Ronsse replied: Yay I am in your blogroll
Unknown replied: It’s great to see blogrolls slowly, but surely making a comeback! I’ve got one too. I’m curious if you provide an OPML file as well?
Unknown replied:
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