Tag Archives: RSS

Why You Need to Know About RSS

rss_icon.pngDo you read things on the web? If you don’t then please think about cutting back on the medication (or possibly upping the dosage). Also go take a nap and then come back.

A few years ago I would visit many web sites everyday or every week or some other interval with regularity. I wouldn’t know if there was something new to read until I spent the time to open the page and wait for it to load. And I’d have to do this for every site that I wanted to keep up to date with.

Then I learned about RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication). For web sites that publish a RSS feed (most sites) I could subscribe to it and then it would tell me when there was new content to read and most times I could read it in one place without having to visit all the sites. I started with BlogLines but then moved over to Google Reader because it had more features.

So when I find a site that I want to keep up with, I add their feed to my Google Reader account. A lot of times you can just click on the “add subscription” button in Google Reader, paste in the website and it will find the feed for you automatically. Other times you have to find the feed yourself. My feed is over in the sidebar of my site. You can subscribe to my blog, the comments, or just my videos.

RSS feeds aren’t just for text. If you consume a lot of audio or video content you may want a media aggregator like Miro. And you may be familiar with podcasting and iTunes. These run on RSS as well even though you may not have realized it.

The number of sites that I keep up with has ballooned quite a bit since I started using RSS to keep up with them. One reason is because it is so much quicker to consume the content when it is all in one place and I can zoom through it. When sites I find interesting don’t have a feed, I probably will not bookmark it because it’s a lot of trouble to keep up with it or if I do bookmark it, I will forget to ever go back and visit the site again.

RSS is not new, it’s been around a while but I know I have some readers that do not use RSS and may not know about its time saving benefits. And some people just like to read content on the website itself and that’s coo if you do. If you like the content of this site, I encourage you to get an account at Google Reader or some other RSS site (or even desktop application) and subscribe.

Here’s a basic introduction to RSS. Maybe next time I’ll talk about full vs partial feeds.