10 blogs for your newsreader

12.24, Friday 29 Dec 2023

Yo big fan of reading blogs through feeds right here.

All told I subscribe to 425 blogs and newsletters using RSS feeds and a newsreader app.

It’s not algorithmic. You see what you subscribe to (it’s free). If you don’t enjoy a blog anymore, you unsubscribe. It’s anonymous. And it gets you off Twitter.

Hey if you want to try out using RSS then I wrote an explainer site about what it is and how to get started: About Feeds.

Here’s my setup:

  • I have NetNewsWire on my iPhone and my Mac. It’s my favourite newsreader app – dead simple to use, no fuss reading experience. It holds all my subscriptions
  • To sync read/unread posts between my phone and my Mac, I could use NetNewsWire’s built-in sync service. But instead I pay $5/month to Feedbin. Reason being: Feedbin gives me a secret email address, and I have rules in Gmail to forward newsletters to it. That way newsletters appear in my newsreader instead of my email inbox.

(Tip: You don’t need to auto-forward Substack email newsletters. Instead add /feed to the end of the Substack URL and you can get the hidden RSS feed.)

I don’t read every single post that goes by. You get a list of everything that’s new day and just kinda check in.

That said, with some sites I do make a point of reading every post.

So if your New Year’s resolution is to start reading with RSS instead of doomscrolling social media, here are 10 such feeds to start populating your new newsreader.

(When you click “RSS feed” you’ll probably see some weird text or the browser will ask you which app to use. Install NetNewsWire or another newsreader and the link will open directly in that.)

Bits About Money by Patrick McKenzie, the intersection of tech, financial infrastructure, and systems thinking. RSS feed.

I went back and read the entire back catalogue for this one. You will be smarter about how the world works. I found this 2022 piece about how standard accounting practice and “gems” in free-to-play games fascinating.

Centauri Dreams by Paul Gilster, peer-reviewed research on deep space exploration, with an eye toward interstellar possibilities. RSS feed.

Feminist Friday by Alex Mitchell: A manageable number of links (2-3), about or around women and feminism, every Friday. Leans towards culture and history. RSS feed.

Feminist Friday has just moved, so go spelunking the full archive over here. It’s amazing – you’ll get a mix of links and then these occasional, original deep dives into cultural history, e.g. is it true that “blue for a boy, pink for a girl” used to be the other way around? In episode 375, Alex brings references. Sadly after almost 10 years, Alex is wrapping up in September 2024. So get it while you can.

Halfman aka Jim Kosem, design criticism to skateboarding, socio-political pontification, historical absurdism, cultural analysis to rock and roll all in the one place. RSS feed.

I met some people in a pub over the summer and we spent literally 20 minutes bonding over how absolutely electric Jim Kosem’s newsletter is.

Maggie Appleton: visual essays about programming, design, and anthropology. RSS feed.

So smart.

Marginal Revolution by Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, the best or one of the best economic blogs on the web. RSS feed.

Marginal Revolution is pretty high traffic but Cowen has very broad interests beyond economics.

One Useful Thing by Prof Ethan Mollick. Translating academic research into mostly useful insights, with some ephemera on the side. Mostly AI stuff recently. RSS feed.

Mollick always has the most grounded yet optimistic takes about AI, and is often also the earliest. Get started with this post about how AI will reshape work which is a breakdown of original research into how management consultants use ChatGPT etc and whether it actually improves their output.

Robin Sloan: books and media and modern life, and I always try to make it feel like a note from a friend. RSS feed for updates – but for the full experience subscribe to the newsletters.

What you’ll get is Sloan’s interests and early research for his next novel, which could be anything. He’s typically a few years ahead of the game, e.g. he built his own AI writing companion and reflected on how it felt back in 2016.

Target_is_new by Iskander Smit: an exploration in the new. RSS feed. Lots of robots, lots of AI. Links and good takes.

Web Curios by Matt Muir: a weekly roundup of: digital arts, online culture, web design and creativity, philosophy, economics, sex, art, death, drugs, music, animation, literary fiction, comedy, nihilism, advertising, marketing, pornography, rights, AI, identity, PR, and the crippling horror of being made of meat. RSS feed.

It’s long and will take you 30 minutes to read every Friday but there isn’t a better place to get the latest weird, excellent web stuff than Web Curios.

Want more? Check out ooh.directory which is a good place to find new stuff to subscribe to: a collection of 2,112 blogs about every topic.

I’d love to see some other RSS starter packs. Lmk.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it by email or on social media. Here’s the link. Thanks, —Matt.