Less a river of news than a reservoir
March 23, 2021 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Fraidycat (Mac/Windows/Linux/Chrome/Firefox) is a "feedspeeder" for following blogs, Twitter accounts, Twitch streams, and more. Unlike RSS readers or social media news feeds, heavily active follows are given equal weight with less active follows, letting you scan several follows quickly. You can also tag your follows and organize them by how frequently you want to check up on them. (h/t Robin Sloan)
posted by Cash4Lead (9 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Per the GitHub page:
Fraidycat is a browser extension for Firefox or Chrome - or an Electron app - that can be used to follow folks on a variety of platforms. But rather than showing you a traditional 'inbox' or 'feed' view of all the incoming posts - Fraidycat braces itself against this unbridled firehose! - you are shown an overview of who is active and a brief summary of their activity.
posted by zamboni at 8:39 AM on March 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

This is interesting.

I don't actually have a Twitter account; I occasionally pull up publicly-viewable pages to see what's going on with people I admire.

This looks like it could be very useful in keeping some of these accounts where I can see them.

Thanks for posting this, Cash4Lead!
posted by kristi at 9:04 AM on March 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

I always enjoy seeing new open web readers. This one looks cute. It's cool that it pulls in Twitch updates along with Twitter and RSS. Activity-led prioritization sounds helpful, except those who only post once every few weeks or months. RSS helps with that, but this seems like it's at least a leg up on Twitter.
posted by oneboiledfrog at 9:45 AM on March 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

I've been using this for a few weeks. It hasn't quite become ingrained in my workflow yet, so I sort of have to remind myself to check it instead of manually checking the things I want to follow -- but it's been useful when I remember to use it. I was a little concerned by this post that indicated work was being put on the back burner, but it looks like the author is continuing to issue updates.
posted by jzb at 10:30 AM on March 23, 2021

I've bounced off of Fraidycat a few times now. I really like the philosophy behind it, but I find it more overwhelming and difficult to browse than a more traditional RSS Reader like Newsblur or Feedly. I really do like that it shows only the most recent updates from sources because that keeps very active sites from drowning everything else out.

I think the pain point for me is that I have to leave Fraidycat and follow the links out to the specific websites to view the content instead of it appearing inside Fraidycat. That's fine with a small amount of follows, but when you're into the hundreds like I am you don't want to have to keep following links out.
posted by forbiddencabinet at 10:50 AM on March 23, 2021

Is this just a response to the dreaded "algorithmic" feeds, where it feels that the powers above are manipulating you? This just reminds me of when I had a Facebook account, and it was continually monopolized by the one person on my friends list who had nothing to do but post garbage on Facebook.

Nowadays with "influencers" and "clout" I am not sure I want to reward people who prioritize quantity over quality. One of the main reasons I love RSS is because it allows me to follow pages that are rarely updated, instead of the endless noise of Twitter or Reddit.
posted by meowzilla at 12:15 PM on March 23, 2021

If I was still heavily reading blogs via RSS this would something I'd use. As it is, I open NetNewsWire about once a month if that.
posted by tommasz at 12:23 PM on March 23, 2021

Loooks great and it's had a lot of positive responses.

Just in case: I installed the browser extension, and nothing happened. Well, derp.... After installing the app, that works. Stand-alone selection, *read* in browser. (Might try the W.E. again, sometime)
posted by Twang at 2:21 PM on March 23, 2021

Is this just a response to the dreaded "algorithmic" feeds, where it feels that the powers above are manipulating you? This just reminds me of when I had a Facebook account, and it was continually monopolized by the one person on my friends list who had nothing to do but post garbage on Facebook.
Sort of, but it goes deeper than that. The greater context is that Kicks Condor is very much a DIY internet person and their goal is to empower people to break away from content silos and the corporate internet. In their ideal world nobody would use Facebook or Twitter, everyone would run their own unique little websites and a robust infrastructure of things like Quotebacks and Webmentions would be the connective tissue that would keep everyone networked and in touch (along with the venerable hyperlink, of course.) Kicks knows that dream isn't really possible right now, but the projects they work on and share often look at ways to make the indie web more accessible to all types of people.

Kicks Condor touches on that herehere:
...I am trying to make it an independent tool—it shouldn’t rely on a central website at all. (It also sucks because I suck, duh!)

The fortunate thing, though, about right now—is that everything else sucks, too! We traded all these glorious personal websites in for a handful of shitty networks that everyone hates. So using Fraidycat is actually a nice breath of somewhat non-shitty air, because you can follow people on all of those networks without needing to immerse yourself in their awfulness.

So, yes, it does reward recency. But not as much as most platforms do. No one can just spam your feed. Yeah, they can bump themselves up to the top of the list, but that’s it. And, if I need to bump someone down manually, I can move them to the ‘daily’ or ‘weekly’ areas.

Imagine not needing to open all of these different networks. I tire of needing to open all of these separate apps: Marco Polo, Twitter, Instagram. My dream is that people can use the platforms they want and I don’t have to have accounts for them all—I can just follow from afar. Gah, one day.
posted by forbiddencabinet at 7:50 PM on March 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

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