RSS? What is that? RSS explained

RSS? What is that? RSS explained

Are you curious as to what to do with an RSS feed or don’t know what it is?. I can see where it could be confusing when first looked at by those who are not technology gurus. So here I am, to talk a little bit about RSS feeds. What they are and what they are there for.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. What it does is provide a content feed of all the new articles posted on a website. Imagine you enjoy reading 20-30 websites or more regularly. Enough so that you have them all bookmarked. Doesn’t it just take forever to go through all of them to see what is new? Isn’t it even worse when you go there and there isn’t anything new at all? I know for myself, I simply don’t have the time to spend checking a ton of sites on a daily basis. This is where RSS feeds come in handy.

There are many ways to subscribe to RSS feeds. Many email programs offer the capability (this is what I use). It’s really convenient since I simply check up on new content on websites I subscribe to at the same time as when I check my email. I’m lucky enough that all the websites I subscribe to offer full content RSS feeds. That means I can read the entire article right from my mail client. I only need to visit the website if I wish to make a comment on what I just read, and even the link to the full article is located in the feed, saving even more time. Sometimes RSS feeds only send partial content, requiring you to have to click a link to send you to the website to read the full article. Not my preferred method, but I’ve subscribed to feeds in the past that are like this. Usually the partial text carries enough information to help me decide if I want to finish reading or not.

There are also sites that you can go to and put all your RSS feeds and they will put them all in one easy location for viewing/reading. One example is Google Reader. There you have a portal that you can add addresses to RSS feeds to all the websites you want to subscribe to. Google even offers you a bookmark that can do it automatically for you when you are already on a website that you would like to subscribe to. Simply click on the bookmark and the RSS feed is automatically added to your Google Reader page. Then you only have to check one place. Google will automatically check all your subscriptions and show you anything that is new that you haven’t read.

As you can see, you can’t really go wrong with RSS feeds. They offer a convenient and quick way to help stay updated with new content on your favorite websites.

Shameless plug: Did this article inspire you to subscribe to this site? On the right side of the navigation bar at the top of the page, the orange icon has the link to the RSS feed for this site.

photo credit: pandemi

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