What is RSS?

What is RSS?

RSS is a simply an Internet technology standard that allows busy people to receive updates to web-based content of interest.

You might have figured that much out by now. But basically, that’s the essence of an RSS feed – you subscribe and then receive new content automatically in your feed reader.

If you actually want to know how RSS works, click here.

What is a feed reader?

You may already be using a form of feed reader, and not even realize it. If you use personalized home page services like My Yahoo or My MSN, you’ve got RSS capabilities built in. That’s how syndicated content like news, weather and stock quotes appears on your personal page. You can also add content from any blog or other site that uses RSS to provide updates.

Other web-based tools are primarily dedicated to feed reading only. One of the most popular web-based feed readers at this point is Bloglines, and it’s also free and easy to get started with.

If you use the Firefox browser, you can also receive RSS feeds from your tool bar by using the Live Bookmarks function. The next version of Internet Explorer will add this feature as well.

Finally, there are desktop-based feed readers. These function somewhat like an email program for feeds. Examples include Newsgator and Feed Demon.

If it sounds complicated, it’s really not. And things will get even easier when the next version of Outlook integrates feed-reading capabilities.

So how do I subscribe to a Feed?

If the site you want to subscribe to uses FeedBurner to aid in the subscription process (like (215) Sports and many other popular sites), you’ll likely see the standard RSS icon, which takes you to a page that will give you an array of the most popular feed readers so you can select yours, and you’ll go from there. This is the new standard RSS icon:

Sometimes there will be a chicklet for your particular reader right on the blog that will take you to the appropriate subscription page. You may see these (among others):

Add to My AOL

RSS is being adopted at a phenomenal rate, because it’s a good thing for everyone. Happy reading.

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