What is RSS?
RSS or Really Simple Syndication is a format for delivering regularly changing web content in an abbreviated and efficient manner. Many news-related sites, blogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to all subscribers.
Why RSS? Benefits and Reasons for using RSS
RSS solves a problem for people who regularly use the web. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually. You ensure your privacy by not needing to join each site’s email newsletter (this tends to over-expose your email address). The number of sites offering RSS feeds is growing rapidly and includes big names like Yahoo News.
What do I need to do to read an RSS Feed? RSS Feed Readers and News Aggregators
Most of today’s browsers contain the ability to save and manage RSS Feeds. Almost like “favorites”, feeds are kept in a folder and sorted alphabetically.
Feeds update themselves automatically every time you are connected to the Internet. All content is stored on the user’s hard-drive so feeds can be looked at or read while offline. This makes catching up on your favorite web content very convenient.
Feed Reader, or News Aggregator software, will also allow 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. Some popular feed readers include FeedReader (Windows), and NewsGator (Windows – integrates with Outlook). There are also a number of web-based feed readers available. My Yahoo, and Google Reader are popular web-based feed readers.
Once you have your Feed Reader or RSS-friendly browser, it is a matter of finding sites that syndicate content and adding their RSS feed to your favorites or to the list of feeds in your Feed Reader. Many sites display a small icon with the acronyms RSS, XML, or RDF to let you know a feed is available. Once you have found a site that contains the RSS icon, just click it and follow the prompts to save it under a name that you can choose or edit from the original. Once you are comfortable on how to find feeds and how to open them, you will be taking in information at an accelerated rate compared to surfing the web. Once the feeds are all in place, you can get updates on all your favorite websites and blogs while offline and in about 1/10th the time it took before you had the feeds set up.