Platform Agnostic Following

Chances are if you’re here it’s through an RSS feed (or an RSS feed bridged to something else), so I probably don’t need to do too much of an introduction. Here’s a quick rundown if you’re unfamiliar. However, today I wanted to talk about RSS (as well as three other means of following content), how I’ve benefited from it, and a small project I started. Just about every piece of content I follow is through RSS - organized into different categories (news, blogs, videos, audio, etc), and the following benefits really stand out:

  • It’s nice to follow everything in one place. There’s no need for separate apps for videos and text content, and it’s easy to mix content from various sources into one folder in my reader (e.g. YouTube & Peertube videos, news from different sources, posts across various microblogging platforms).
  • It negates the network effect while simultaneously allowing me to focus on individual creators instead of a platform’s community. Since I can mix and match sources I’m not locked into a few big platforms, and since I can follow individual creators I can avoid the problems of being on a too tightly or loosely moderated platform.
  • I’m guaranteed a chronological feed and can avoid the various “for you” kinds of pages and algorithms.
  • I don’t need an account to follow content on a platform. This is nice for abstract privacy (simply not telling companies who I follow), and also brings more concrete benefits like getting around YT adblocking since they only block you if you’re signed in.
  • I can control how content is opened, for example by opening YT videos on Android into NewPipe or a browser with Adblock + Sponsorblock. No way is the YT app going to let me do that.

Personally I use RSS for most content I follow, however, there are three other ways you can get a very similar result: Email, Nostr, and Activity Pub. Because you can follow nearly anything on RSS, and because you can follow RSS feeds via Email, Nostr, and some Activity Pub servers you can easily follow just about anything through those as well if RSS isn’t your preference. All in all, I would highly recommend you consider experimenting with moving just about every type of content/social media you follow an external something (such as RSS).

With my three-paragraph summary of “it’s nice” out of the way, I also wanted to share Follow Anything Anywhere, a Github repo with a list of ways to follow content from various platforms with the aforementioned protocols. The RSS page is definitely the biggest, but as mentioned, you can then take an RSS link and follow it somewhere else meaning everything listed on any of the pages could be followed with all the four protocols I brought up.

I’ve pretty much filled out everything I can think of, and if you also use any of those methods to follow content it might be a useful resource to check out. I’m also looking to see if anybody is aware of other ways to follow content I missed, which is where the request for help comes in. If you’re aware of any I’d love for you to send me an email or a pull request to keep it filled out and up to date. It’s licensed GPL3 so you’re welcome to re-use any of the content on there for your own projects or fork and redesign the project if you think it needs serious improvement beyond what a few commits can fix.

Last, if you’ve made or are interested in making similar projects, I’d love to hear about them (if you’re bored, a similar repo with various web wrappers, front ends, and third-party apps comes to mind).