Sometime in the late nineties I wrote a sci-fi story and in one scene a man gets home, taps a touchscreen on the wall of his kitchen and instantly brings up a personalised news feed programmed to display things that interested him and also set up to specifically look for news items featuring certain keywords, to highlight any news about a specific ship in this case.
Now just a bit over a decade later I’m just getting to grips with this exact same thing on my own personal tablet computer, though without the spaceship captaining wife.
Websites, including these WordPress blogs, can provide what is called an RSS feed which summarises each article published and these can be picked up by reader apps. These have been around a long time admittedly but these readers are now becoming more sophisticated and stylish. On my Nexus 7 I have tried Google Reader, Flow Reader, Google Currents, Flipboard and Feedly. Some apps actually access your Google Reader subscription list to find out which feeds you want to receive. You can even view other RSS equipped sites in your WordPress reader. The icon above signifies that a site has an RSS feed.
These apps are the solution to the at time overwhelming volume of information that can come at you from the internet. This sheer volume of articles is one of the reasons why I sit down to write something for this blog and just decide to have a mug of tea and watch tv instead, I just don’t know where to start. With an RSS reader on a phone or tablet I can skim through articles, share useful ones to Pocket for use later on my desktop PC and read anything that I can just enjoy in the moment – all while half-listening to the tv.
The nice thing about these modern readers is the way they present the content. You can filter what you see so if you have a news website’s feed you could refuse to acknowledge the existence of articles about X-Factor winners or only view articles about the weather or Wills and Kate. Then depending on which app you choose you can have a list of your incoming torrent of news, divided into subject if you so wish or displayed to you as a virtual, stylish, one of a kind digital magazine, or a mixture of both. Of course as it’s tablet/smartphone based (although you can use PC RSS readers or websites too) you can have notifications.
The future of news, personalised and delivered to your sofa.