RSS… 3 simple letters that sometimes causes so much confusion. If you are confused about what RSS is and how to use it, here is a very quick explanation.
RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication.
It allows you to automatically follow blog posts, articles and most content posted on the web without having to always go back to the source page to view the new content.
So, in other words, you can ‘subscribe’ to a blogs RSS feed, and any new articles that are written, are automatically published to your RSS feed reader. This means you can receive the latest articles from all of your favourite blogs and websites without having to do anything other than set up your RSS feed reader.
So how do you get an RSS reader?
Personally I use Newsfire (http://www.newsfirerss.com/). I use a Mac and I find this free software easy to use and setup. But you don’t need software to view RSS feeds. Web-based feed readers are built right into your browser, requiring no special software installation. The Mozilla Firefox browser, for example, automatically enables you to add RSS feeds to your Favorites folder creating “Live Bookmarks”. Apple also added RSS support into it’s Safari browser. Microsoft also has RSS support in the Internet Explorer browser.
If you are using a browser based RSS reader, you can simply click the RSS icon or text-link on your favourite web article and your browser will give you the option to save it into your live bookmarks list. If you are using Newsfire, you simply click the ‘plus’ symbol to add this RSS feed to your list of articles to follow. Alternatively you can use the popular Google Reader. Once you have a Google account, you can add RSS feeds by simply clicking the ‘Add Subscription’ button to add a new article to your list.
There are many other RSS readers that you can use as everyone has different preferences. Just remember to look for the commonly used RSS icon next to your article, post, blog or site that you want to follow. Your browser will want to save the RSS link to its in-built reader, however you can simply copy the URL that appears in the address bar of your browser into Google reader, Newsfire or any of the other readers that you are using. Newsfire automatically inserts the RSS feed URL for you when you create a new reader list item and other software based readers do the same.
So why not try a RSS reader to see if it’s right for you?
Image credit Juliomarcoss on Flickr