News the minimalistic way

RSS is still alive and helps me to focus

“woman reading newspaper” by rawpixel on Unsplash

Like two or three weeks ago, I was a little bored and thought about installing something new on my server again. Yes, I really like installing “things” (it’s actually just adding some Docker containers to my configuration — what nerds do) on my 5€ virtual private server, especially when those things improve my life in some way. I installed Miniflux and using it really opened my eyes about the way I consume news. If you don’t want to selfhost Miniflux like I do, there’s also a very cheap hosted version for just some bucks a year.

Miniflux is a minimalistic newsreader. All it does is collecting new stories from the RSS feeds I subscribed to. RSS stands for Rich Site Summary and is a type of web feed which allows users to access updates to online content in a standardized, computer-readable format. Those RSS feeds are from some news sites I like to read, blogs or even Twitter pages, to which I subscribe via a tool called “RSS-Bridge” (but that’s another service on my VPS). It also has categories and a reading list feature of course, but it does the few things it’s supposed to do very well. It’s really fast and looks clean.

Screenshot of Miniflux

But the real benefit of switching from “visit every bookmarked site to check for news” to using a RSS reader is the reduced consumption of “useless” news. Things like clickbait or articles that aren’t interesting enough to catch my attention, when I scroll through the list with 100, 200 or sometimes even 300 new articles each morning. But articles which I would read when I would still use my old method of getting news, because it feels just bad to open a web page just to close it directly after that. I now open less than 5 percent of the articles.

As an aspiring minimalist, I always search for ways to reduce clutter and time wasting activities in my life, to be able to focus on the important things, on things I’m interested in, on things that make me happy, or on things I care about. Completely cutting my news consumption isn’t a possibility, because that way I also cut out all the news I really want to read and getting a basic overview what’s happening in the world isn’t that bad too. I need a way to better filter the news without beeing distracted by clickbaity header images or blinking buttons. Using a simple newsreader helps me with that. It doesn’t really matter, which newsreader I use. In the past I already used feedly, ttrss and a few others and it’s more about personal preferences.