O Reader! My Reader


RSS feeds enable readers to keep better track of their bookmarking by essentially doing it for them. Each new article appears in boldface type, much like new emails in an inbox. It allows for richer internet-browsing experiences with the inclusion of share, email, and print functions, as well as homepage customization with all manner of feeds — Google has capitalized most on this function. RSS allows Internet users to be picky with their search criteria and their feed subscriptions.

Is it socially legal to quote your own college paper on “Really Simple Syndication?” Oh well. There was a time (2007) when I had hope for this Internet. There was once a humane way to sift through the day’s news that wasn’t just standing under a faucet of opinions and viral pixels that get stuck to you and then you have to pass them on like germs because you are just a vector. It’s like if, instead of reading the newspaper (haha paper) of your choice, your neighbors and frenemies just shouted whatever they thought was newsworthy in your general direction, UNSOLICITED.

Remember the good old days of Google Reader? You could consume web content on your own terms, in your own tab, whose walls you decorated with the favicons of your preferred content providers. Now it’s all algorithms and retweets and breaking-news chyrons. Google Reader was launched in 2005, when everything was still okay and BuzzFeed hadn’t been founded yet, and it was shut down on July 1, 2013. To my mind, that is the day the Internet died, and what we are experiencing now is purgatory. Make yourself comfortable.

If you visit Google Reader’s site now, you get a lame message: “Google Reader has been discontinued. We want to thank all our loyal fans. We understand you may not agree with this decision, but we hope you’ll come to love these alternatives as much as you loved Reader.” Not one of those alternatives is good enough, because they’re just not the same. That none of them ever really took off is not an argument against the genius of Reader, either! Google claims Reader was founded in the spirit of making it “easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites.” Instead, our websites now keep tabs on us, the better to target us and hold us down and turn us into money, like so many caged broiler chickens, puffed up with soybean meal. Doesn’t feel good, does it? It’s not like Google+ is a thing, but you don’t see Google shutting that one down, because Facebook. Haha, remember Buzz? How about Wave?

In the sprit of The Resurrection: Bring back the open Internet. Bring back Google Reader. It’s okay, Google; you made a mistake. We’ll forgive you.

Photo: Flickr