Long time listener, first time caller
I can’t remember the last time I read a book from front to back1, but I am a voracious reader. The thing is, I prefer to read “the internet” instead of books.
At some point early on in my internet journey I discovered RSS and I immediately fell in love2.
My RSS feed became like my own personal newspaper, where I was the curator.
I could add and remove
columnists blog feeds as my interest graph would change over time.
I was one of the many3 who decried the death of Google Reader.
RSS lives on, but it’s not as ubiquitious as it once was.
For some years my feed shifted from RSS to social media — almost exclusively Twitter, and mostly via Twitter Lists — but a few trends in recent years have brought me back to RSS:
- RSS services are great again4.
- RSS apps are making a comeback!
- “Doomscrolling” became a thing™️, prompting a renewed need to curate my feed.
With my newfound replacement for Google Reader’s service (Feedbin.com), and my favorite old RSS reader app making a glorious (and open source!!) comeback, I decided to start the curation process from scratch. I created folders for “News”, “People”, “Portland” (my local happenings), “Products”, “Startups”, and “Tech”.
And then I started subscribing. And I discovered that the very first feeds I added were the very same feeds I’ve been reading all along. A combination of overlapping interest graphs (I’m assuming) and writing styles have kept me reading certain blogs for over a decade now. These are the bloggers who’s writing has both intimidated me – because I hold them in high esteem – and inspired me to start this blog.
I have feared that if I ever started a blog I would appear as a copy cat, a cheap imitation of these now-veterans who probably started like I am starting right now. But I decided that instead of shying away from writing, I should lean into it. Give credit where credit is due. Start my blog, in my own voice (however heavily “inspired by” it may be), and acknowledge those who went before me.
Starting a blog is easy. Buy a domain ✅ write an /about page ✅ write a “hello, world” ✅ smash the publish button. 💥 But for me, I could not have started this blog without acknowledging who this blog was inspired by.
I mean, I do remember what the last book I read was, but it’s too embarrasing. 😅 ↩︎
FUN FACT: fast forward many years later and I somehow had the privilege of working with Matt Shobe – one of the co-founders of Feedburner (acquired by Google in 2007). And by “working with” I mean he became an angel investor in my first company, and a critical advisor in our early stages. ↩︎
Or few, I guess. Otherwise we would still have Google Reader? ↩︎
In the years following the death of Google Reader (RIP), I tried a handful of apps and services that built replacements for Google Reader — from Feedly to Flipboard (powered by a carefully curated Twitter list) – but nothing stuck. Then a few years ago I tried Feedbin, and subsequently discovered its support for Newsletters (at a time when it seemed like everyone was starting a SubStack), and I almost forgot that Google Reader ever existed. ↩︎