What is RSS?
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a technology for delivering content online.
It works based on “RSS feeds” – content formatted in a special techie way – and “RSS readers” aka “Feedreaders” – programs that can understand the special techie formatting and show the content to humans.
You choose the RSS feeds you want to subscribe to. Then your feedreader will get the latest content from that feed and show it to you.
Huh? Can you put that in non-geeky terms?
Sure I can! Imagine you are the editor of a personalized newspaper.
You have your favorite authors and topics. You sign up (free) to get their latest content (i.e. you add their RSS feeds to your reader).
Once these feeds are in your reader, you just open up your reader and can read all that content right there.
Why RSS? Benefits and Reasons for using RSS
You save time by not needing to type in each site name individually and click around a bunch. All their content shows up in your RSS reader.
You have more control than with email, where newsletter publishers sometimes “accidentally” ignore unsubscribe requests. You can unsubscribe from an RSS feed without depending on the content’s publisher to stop sending it to you. You just unsubscribe in your reader.
What do I need to do to read an RSS Feed?
Like I explained earlier, feedreader software allows you to grab the RSS feeds from various sites and display them for you to read and use.
A variety of RSS Readers are available for different platforms. One popular feed reader is Netvibes, which I personally use and recommend. That’s because you can organize your subscriptions easily, using tabs like file folders). Bloglines is another popular reader.
Once you have your Feed Reader, it is a matter of finding sites that syndicate content and adding their RSS feed to the list of feeds your Feed Reader checks. Many sites display a small orange icon with the word “Atom” or the acronyms RSS, XML, or RDF to let you know an RSS feed is available. My site publishes an RSS feed, so why don’t you add my RSS feed to your reader?
(This page was created with the help of WhatIsRSS.com – links opens in a new window.)