Learning Websites

Diversifying my blogroll

Quoted I doubled-down on RSS (

Probably the worst aspect of the current state of RSS is that it has been reduced to something whose main practitioners are deeply invested in technology, and specifically web technology.

RSS is very much of the mentality of the time of its invention: the open and free web of decades past.

The systematic suppression of RSS means that the majority of the people utilizing it skew towards the key usage demographic of that era. To say it plainly: that means, wealthy, white, and male.

I do encounter this challenge too. With any type of creative work, it’s easy to fall into reading/ watching/ listening to only the work of privileged people and miss other voices. It takes effort and commitment to read beyond the usual recommendations.

My ‘one weird trick’ for keeping my RSS feed relatively balanced:

Whenever I come across a blogroll of new websites to explore, I only look at the websites by people with female-coded names (or names I can’t guess, which often means another cultural background).

I’m sure the men linked to in blogrolls are equally lovely and interesting people. But, it’s very easy to find men to follow; it’s women that must be found. There is a limit to how many people I can follow and how much information I can take in — and it’s important to me to listen to women and queer folk and people from other cultures.

The other challenge I’ve found is that the men I follow tend to post way more than the women, but I don’t have a solution for that 🤷‍♀️ My half solution has been to tag each feed I follow as written by a man or woman or nonbinary person. Then I can open the folder tagged women and enbys and only see posts by them. I don’t look at that folder often, but every once in a while I check it out and invariably there are posts I missed in the flood of other content.

1300 articles by men and 500 by women and nonbinary people in my RSS reader
1300 articles by men and 500 by women and nonbinary folks in my RSS reader

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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