John-Paul Flintoff




Adventures in Syndication

The show was very successful, and they actually tried to syndicate it nationally, but I couldn't get stations. It was like, "We don't care that she's funny and she's got great ratings. She's liberal!"
— Stephanie Miller


Recently I posted about an experiment I’m doing – how I’m trying to stop Google, Facebook, Twitter controlling what I read.

In brief, I’m subscribing directly to blog posts and updates, using Really Simple Syndication (RSS). This avoids the hopeless, impossible business of trying to catch everything on social media, or even in email newsletters (which Google often puts in spam or trash).

This update reflects my experience so far.


Consuming other people’s content

I’ve loved sitting down to read my favourite journals and individual writers, on the day it’s published, on my iPad. (I also have the free Feedly app on my phone.)

Considering that it’s delivered digitally, this is the closest I get to Ye Olden Days experience of opening a new shrink-wrapped magazine after it dropped through my letterbox.

But there’s another upside.


Putting out my own content

Having recently started my own podcast, I have noticed that I feel much more comfortable putting out new episodes than I have ever felt publishing an email newsletter (which I’ve done, sporadically, for well over a decade).

How come? It can’t be that I’m more comfortable with audio than text. I’m a writer first. I’ve written and published text in newspapers and magazines all my working life.

But maybe exactly that explains the difference.

With newspapers and magazines, as with my podcast, I can never be certain exactly who reads or listens; whereas the system behind my email newsletter (Mailchimp) makes it hard not to notice which individual reader opened an email, clicked a link, unsubscribed…

And I hate that. It feels like snooping.


I’ve become more prolific

I’ve really enjoyed RSS, both as a reader and as a producer of content. Since following other writers who post something every day, I’ve more or less done the same. I’m creating more, and putting more out there.

If you’d like to receive my posts, please go ahead and subscribe to my RSS feed.

If you don’t know how: go to Feedly, create a (free) account, and subscribe to my posts using https://flintoff.org. I won’t know, unless you tell me.

Thank you for reading.

For the technically minded, there’s more about RSS on Wikipedia.


Posted: March 10, 2021

Keywords: rss, blogging