There has to be a better way to subscribe to sites. While RSS readers are making a bit of a comeback in certain quarters there's no doubt that, as Sameer puts it, "subscribing to feeds definitely has fallen out of parlance." It's not just that sites need subscribe buttons again, but that using them should not be akin to a dark art. As Dave initially said, echoed by Frank, the social networks have made following easy - reading, writing, following, it's all within the same UI. That's what makes micro.blog unique, it has that familiar social feel but you are actually invisibly subscribing to people's RSS/JSON feeds when following them. The timeline is a glorified feed reader with integrated posting and social elements. That's fine within the confines of a service like micro.blog but what about on the open web when hitting "follow" isn't handled for you? "Remember when all the apps supported RSS? Browsers, email clients, everything!" It used to be so much better but, even then, implementation differed. Chrome just shows us the XML, Safari lost its "subscribe" feature, Firefox seems more feed aware but it's all still unintuitive. Some platforms allow you to set your default feed reader to "open in" - others don't - but this still needs you to understand what feeds are, how they are consumed and choose a reader. There needs to be a way to handle subscriptions on the open web like following a person on a social network. But how? Any solution would require everyone to get on board with compatible options for what most see as an antiquated technology. Perhaps it needs something new. But what? Are browser developers going to reintroduce native subscription options? Doubtful.
I’ve got some thoughts on this forthcoming. Need to get over my head cold soon.