I have been getting quite a few people asking about RSS feeds and what’s so great. For those of you who have no idea what an RSS feed is, you’re not alone. Let me try and explain this as easy as possible.
What is RSS?
RSS has numerous different definitions but my favorite is Really Simple Syndication. We all know what Syndication is right? Well, an RSS feed syndicates information that is updated frequently, that is why many news sites use them. News is information that changes all the time.
How does it work?
In order for you as a user to use an RSS feed, you need to have what the industry calls an “aggregator.” All an aggregator is, is an RSS reader. Now, most new browsers have a built in reader. You can tell by clicking on an RSS icon . New browsers will display the feed instead of the code, which is what old browsers will display.
Anyone with an account with Yahoo, Google, MSN, AOL, etc. also has access to a reader. Many time with such sites, you can customize the look of your account page, once logged in, to whatever you want. If you have problems finding a reader within your account, more often then not if you type in “feed reader” on the site search you can find a suitable one. Once you have a reader you can “Subscribe” to a feed using that reader. Once you subscribe to a feed, every time that feed is updated with new information, so too will your feed reader.
So what is the big deal?
Well, the big deal is that this is a fast and efficient way to streamline information. You can subscribe to multiple feeds on multiple different site and manage the content from one central location.
Last example, I promise. My homepage is Google. Every time I get on the internet, Google is the first page I see. I login to my account and I see an ESPN Baseball feed, a news feed, web tech feeds, and a couple of feeds that I manage. Therefore, I don’t have to go ESPN to check the scores. I don’t have to go to CNN to check the news and I don’t have to run out and make sure the the feeds that I manage are working properly. I have them all on one page.
Check this out. You won’t be sorry. Not only does Scotland have it’s own feed for current events but they are also pulling information from a local news station to get all the local info. Smart, oh yeah, I may have had something to do with it too.