The world is full of more news, information, and events than we humans can possibly filter or digest. The information superhighway became something of a misinformation superhighway and all that information– from reality to fake news– has filled humanity with more than humanity can handle.
Want a good way to get a handle on everything that passes before your eyes? Use a good RSS reader. Why? There is no better way to filter and control such a volume of information. Me, almost a year ago:
I use News Explorer because it is feature laden, syncs subscription lists between Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, and the user interface makes it easy to find and subscribe to RSS feeds from many websites, and once it is setup and running, it just works. Alright, that said, any good RSS reader does much the same thing.
Over the course of the past year I started to notice a few trends among my list of websites. A trend that sticks out like a sore thumb.
First, check out “What I Found By Using An RSS Reader” because you get a visual perspective on what I call information regurgitation.
What I see in the technology sector is the same as I see in the standard news sector. Regurgitation. The same news and rumors are passed off on each website so what you read on one will show up on two, three, six or seven other websites.
Second, check out “Something Else I Found By Using RSS” on Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
Advertising disguised as news. Articles disguised as special deals. Articles that sell vs. articles that inform. Nearly every major Apple-oriented, Mac-oriented, and technology gadget oriented website features so-called articles or special deals (often disguised as an article) that help the website regain some of the revenue that was lost thanks to ad blockers, lowered advertising rates, and lowered advertising click-through rates; all of which combine to reduce or eliminate profitability for such sites.
The examples of such regurgitated shenanigans for the sake of profits are everywhere and when you bring dozens or a few hundred websites into your visual purview (with an RSS reader you control what arrives in headline and summary form) it becomes instantly visual, visible, and a bit disconcerting.
The perfect example was Cyber Monday.
Cyber Monday is a marketing term for the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. It was created by retailers to encourage people to shop online. The term was coined by Ellen Davis and Scott Silverman, and made its debut on November 28, 2005 in a Shop.org press release entitled “‘Cyber Monday’ Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year”
If you use an RSS reader then it’s likely you saw the same thing. Website after website regurgitating the same Cyber Monday sales.
Most of those websites are little more than product shills for various online stores. It’s called affiliate marketing; a growing trend for many websites who cannot make money the old fashioned way (advertising).
The danger in such obvious shilling should be obvious. Journalist integrity and objectivity take a back seat to revenue opportunities when websites sell products in what appears to be a review or newsworthy article. An RSS reader displays a lengthy list of websites you subscribe to, and when they all do the same sort of regurgitation and shilling, it becomes obvious that money rules.