The following has been based upon an article on http://www.problogger.net/….
What is RSS?
RSS is a technology that is being used by millions of web users around the world to keep track of their favorite websites.
In the ‘old days’ of the web to keep track of updates on a website you had to ‘bookmark’ websites in your browser and manually return to them on a regular basis to see what had been added.
The problems with bookmarking
- You as the web surfer had to do all the work
- It can get complicated when you are trying to track many websites at once
- You miss information when you forget to check your bookmarks
- You end up seeing the same information over and over again on sites that don’t update very often
RSS Changes Everything
What if you could tell a website to let you know every time that they update? In a sense, this is what RSS does for you.
RSS flips things around a little and is a technology that provides you with a method of getting relevant and up to date information sent to you for you to read in your own time. It saves you time and helps you to get the information you want quickly after it was published.
RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’. Many people describe it as a ‘news feed’ that you subscribe to. It’s like subscribing to a magazine that is delivered to you periodically but instead of it coming in your physical mail box each month when the magazine is published it is delivered to your ‘RSS Reader’ every time your favorite website updates.
How to Use RSS
Your Email program may be an option – Most email apps such as Thunderbird, MS Outlook, Windows Live Mail support RSS subscriptions and the alerts look very much like new emails. If you are already using one of these programs, it’s a straightforward process to add the new feed.
Get an RSS Reader – If using your email program is not possible, you’ll need to hook yourself up with an RSS Feed Reader. There are many feed readers going around with a variety of approaches and features – however a good place to start is with a free and easy to use web-based ones like Bloglines. Google used to provide a reader but it’s now discontinued; however they do list a lot of alternatives – so there are plenty to choose from.
These feed readers work a little like email. As you subscribe to feeds you’ll see that unread entries from the sites you’re tracking will be marked as bold. As you click on them you’ll see the latest update and can read it right there in the feed reader. You are given the option to click through to the actual site or move onto the next unread item – marking the last one as ‘read’.
The best way to learn is to simply subscribe to some feeds and give it a go. The apps will have help sections to get you up and running.