Using RSS to kick my addiction

2018/06/26

I used to spend hours refreshing my YouTube subscription feed, browsing through recommended videos and generally wasting time. I realised I would check it dozens of times a day, even though I only subscribed to around 30 people and a handful uploaded daily. It was getting out of control so I looked for a solution.

Enter RSS. I had never used RSS before as most of the websites I use have some sort of subscription feature and I tended to check them often. I downloaded the newsboat Linux client and set it up. YouTube provides a feature for downloading your subscriptions as an OPML file, which newsboat can import. I unsubscribed from everyone to cut it off. I keep the .newsboat/urls file backed up in case my laptop dies.

It definitely worked. Even if I were to still check newsboat several times a day, the lack of suggested videos stops me getting lost down the YouTube hole. It stops me on my phone as well because I don’t have a subscription list to browse through (I recently switched to NewPipe anyway).

Subscribing is now an extra step than clicking a button but it makes me question whether this channel is going to add value. I also realise that by not subscribing, I’m not supporting the channels I like but they still get my views and likes.