Welcome to RSS Club

January 02, 2018

Congratulations on joining a secret society! If you’re reading this, that means my message has been transmitted successfully. This post is only available to you, Reader, through the ancient peer-to-peer syndication medium of RSS. I hope you are enjoying reading it in your Web 2.0 era feed reader.

It’s my pledge to use this secret communication channel to share a little more deeply. Maybe it’s something personal, maybe it’s something in progress, maybe it’s a soft launch. Monthly’ish Easter eggs for those of us who still use RSS readers.

The goal of this feature, at least for me, is two-fold. Celebrate and incentivize RSS readership which I think is great as well as devalue social media channels as the primary content delivery network.

How to participate

Want to do this too? Great. I literally can’t stop you. Here’s the constraints I’m trying to abide in:

  1. 1st rule of RSS Club is “Don’t Talk About RSS Club”.
  2. 2nd rule of RSS Club is “Don’t Share on Social Media”.
  3. 3rd rule of RSS Club is “Provide Value”.

Don’t talk about it. Let people find it. Make it worthwhile.

These rules are completely non-enforceable.

Tech details

I use Jekyll so the first thing I had to do was create a rss_only flag in my YAML Front Matter:

title: Welcome to RSS Club
layout: post
rss_only: true

Then modify my post loop to never show these posts in my Home and Archive templates:

{% assign posts = site.posts | where_exp: "item", "item.rss_only != true" %}
{% for post in posts %}
  <!-- for loop stuff -->
{% endfor %}

And then in my post template I added a little messaging to let people know this is an RSS-only post:

{% if page.rss_only %}
<aside class="notice">
  <tt>It's a secret to everyone!
    <a href="https://daverupert.com/2018/01/welcome-to-rss-club/">Read more about RSS Club</a>.
{% endif %}

I may even add something to my atom.xml feed as an indicator as well.

All my posts will be available at a public-facing URL in case you or I want to cross-link or reference them later. That maybe ruins the clandestineness of this experiment, but I don’t want to break the Web and create another silo. Content needs URLs.

Who else is in?

RSS Club needs some kind of public signifier or gang sign so members of RSS Club can identify other members. I’ve tried to spell RSS with my fingers and it doesn’t work well so I’m open to suggestions.

How about this… in the meantime, if you’re in, ping me your feed URL and I can start a blogroll. Hell yeah. Blogrolls. 2018.