Facebook News (or, rather, a Facebook News tab), is rolling out in the USA, and there are valid concerns about this already, for various reasons.
Whether you’re in the USA, or not, you don’t need (and may not want to rely on) Facebook News to keep up with the news. Instead, there is a tried, tested, and widely available alternative that you can configure to suit your preferences right now: feed readers.
Advantages to using a feed reader
Feed readers have been around for decades, and use RSS or XML feeds that most news sites (and virtually all blogs) publish to syndicate their content. They aren’t exactly the Hot New ThingTM these days, but they’re still going strong. They also have a few advantages over options like Facebook News:
- You have a wealth of choice when it comes to selecting your feed reader;
- You can choose which sources to follow, and you’ll receive all the updates from all of your sources, pretty much as they publish them without relying on an algorithm to share the updates in your feed;
- If you don’t like using your current feed reader, you can usually export your feeds, and move to a new feed reader.
Feed reader vs feed aggregator
When it comes to choosing a feed reader, you’ll want to make two decisions: which feed aggregator you want to use, and which feed reader you wan to use to read your feeds. Some feed readers are standalone feed aggregators, and you can use them to subscribe to your feeds on your local device.
Most feed reader apps (like the ones I mention below) will do this.
The real magic is when you have a feed aggregator that syncs between your feed reader apps. They’ll all enable you to subscribe to your preferred feeds. All you’ll want to decide is which one to use. There are a couple services to consider:
- Feedly – I consider Feedly to be the spiritual successor to Google Reader. It’s a web-based service that has both Feedly apps for iOS and Android, and you can also use a variety of 3rd party feed readers to subscribe to your Feedly feeds;
- Feedbin – Feedbin is similar to Feedly in that it’s a feed aggregator, and integrates with a variety of 3rd party apps on multiple platforms; and
- Inoreader – This is another popular service that has mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
Feed reader and service recommendations
Here are a few great feed reader options to consider:
- NetNewsWire – This mainstay from a decade or so ago is back, and is being actively developed as an open source feed reader for macOS. It’s contributors are adding more and more integrations and functionality at a rapid pace;
- Reeder – Reeder is a paid macOS app that I’ve been using for years. It’s packed with functionality, including a decent Pocket reader;
- FeedReader – If you’re a Linux user, this nicely designed app is a good option to consider. It seems to have borrowed it’s design from a macOS app I like, Reeder, and integrates with services like Feedly to give you a desktop option for your Feedly feeds;
- WordPress.com Reader – If you’re a WordPress.com user, you can also use the included Reader as a feed reader;
- Nuzzel – If you prefer to receive your news updates on Twitter (Twitter is pretty well suited for this), then Nuzzel offers a great way to collate news updates, especially when you use it in conjunction with curated Twitter lists that you populate with your preferred news sources; and
- Thunderbird – You may remember Thunderbird as Mozilla’s email app. It’s still being developed, and includes a feed reader too. Thunderbird is free, cross-platform, and open source, so it’s a great option too.
When it comes to keeping up to date with news, and the sites you’re interested in, feed readers remain a terrific way to do it. There are many options available when it comes to both aggregators, and feed readers. Make your own choices, and subscribe to the content that matters most to you.Featured image by Roman Kraft
What do you think?