Key with Fraidycat is that it aims to break the ‘never ending timeline’ type of reading content that the silos so favour to keep you scrolling, and that most feed readers also basically do. Fraidycat presents all the feeds you follow (and it is able to work with a variety of sources, not just regular RSS feeds from blogs) in the same way: the name of the feed, and one line of titles of recent postings.
The pleasant effect of this is that it shows the latest postings of all your subscriptions, not just the latest postings. This means that regular posters, oversharing posters and more silent voices get allocated much the same space, and no single voice can dominate your feed reader.
For each blog you can toggle a list of recent postings.
It’s not just that Fraidycat doesn’t present a timeline, it actually only presents some metadata from each feed and does not fetch the actual content of a feed at all. So as soon as you click a link in a list of links, it will send you to your browser and open it there. This runs counter to my habit of reading feeds offline, which requires being able to automatically download content to my laptop. It does make for a clean experience though.
A neat addition is also that it shows sparkline graphs next to the name of a blog, so there’s a visual cue as to the frequency of posting. This is something I’d like to see in other readers too. It’s a functionality that might be extended with an alert of changes in the normal posting rhythm. E.g. someone falling silent, or suddenly blogging up a storm, or covering a live event could perhaps stand out with a visual cue (such as changing the color of the sparkline graph). The sparkline is the only cue concerning the number of postings, there’s no indication of how many ‘unreads’ there are because Fraidycat doesn’t know that (as it doesn’t fetch content). This is a good way of preventing any type of FOMO cropping up.
In the current times it is I think worthwile to follow blogs more, and social media timelines less, attenuating both the noise and the way stuff reaches you.