I feel that RSS is a sweet mystery of the universe. Or at least of the wide world web. I'm going to break it down in easy to understand terms for everyone that ever wondered "What is RSS?" or "Do I need RSS?"
To begin with what does the RSS stand for? According to Wikipedia, it means Really Simple Syndication. So, my question is, why does it seem not so simple? I've done some investigating, and as it turns out, it is simple!!
Here is the breakdown. We all have favorite blogs and websites that we read. But, as time goes on, the list gets longer and longer. How do you keep up with the newest posts on your favorite sites? Do you click individually on each site everyday? That could really be time consuming, so you check occasionally. Not a real efficient method.
RSS steps up to save the day...efficiency at it's best. With RSS, you can subscribe to your favorite blogs and websites and when that site is updated, a headline or summary is sent to your reader. (More about readers in a moment.) How do you subscribe? It is as simple as a click away. Most blogs and websites make it very easy for you to subscribe to their RSS feed by having the icon in a prominent place on their site. You will see a little orange icon that is the standard symbol for RSS. Occasionally the symbol will be a different color or configured different. But, if you look carefully, you will recognize it. To subscribe to that blog, just click on the RSS icon. Then, when that blog has a new post or that website has new content, you will be notified via your reader.
In the RSS world there are two players. The feed and the reader. The feed concerns the owner of the blog or website, and they configure their feed for their site. (A future post on setting up a feed is in the process...subscribe to my RSS feed to find out when!) The reader is what you will need to receive their feed. It is your mailbox for your subscriptions. Here is a list to get you started: