10 Things You Need to Know about RSS Feeds

10 Things You Need to Know about RSS Feeds

Because RSS feeds are easier experienced than explained, I have included a video embed that will take only 100 seconds of your time, but open you to a world of possibility.anna RSS Feeds

If you like what you see, you can keep reading for a little more in-depth information on this important topic.

Here are 10 things you never knew you wanted to know about RSS feeds:

  • What does RSS stand for?

Really Simple Syndication.

  • What does it do?

RSS feeds allow publishers, such as bloggers, to automatically push content out to the world wide web. Pushing content out is also known as syndication.

  • How do I set up an RSS feed?

Simple as syndication! Go to Feedburner and use your details to to login and enter your blog’s URL into the feed burner. The feed burner will spit out a URL et voilà!

  • Why on earth would I do such a thing? 

You would do it in order to have a shiny orange square on your website.  Or, in order to make your content available to the entire web, for free!

  • How does a user access a feed?

A couple of ways. If there is a shiny orange square on your site, users can click it and go directly to a subscription form. Or, they can go to a feed reader to search for blogs, news sources and other syndicated content and subscribe from there. There are over 40 existing feed readers. Google Reader is a popular and convenient one.

  • What’s so good about feed readers?

Feed readers are nice because all of your subscriptions are aggregated (grouped) into one spot. If you use a reader, you can unsubscribe from email subscriptions that clog your inbox, but still have access to the information when you want it. Très convenient, no?

  • Who invented RSS?

As with all things internet, the story of who invented RSS involves complexity and contention. The short story is that many people contributed to the ongoing (and incomplete) evolution of RSS feeds, beginning with a precursor developed in 1995. 

Although hundreds, if not thousands, of people have contributed to the development of RSS feeds, the one with the coolest name is Ramanathan V. Guha.

  • Why should I care?

Well. RSS feeds are free and available to everyone. They help make the internet the free, open and innovative space that it is. It is exciting to think that so many contributed to this project because they saw the potential of the web as an international, democratic entity.

  • Is RSS dead?

Well. It’s true that most of you reading this article had never heard of RSS or known what it meant. This is a little different than death. 

The truth of the matter is that RSS is not a mainstream thing. It is oriented toward what we call Power Users. Power Users are techie people and bloggers who sit in dark rooms and stay up until 3 a.m. working on computers. RSS feeds help them stay on task and generate knew tasks for themselves.

  • In fact, millions of people use RSS feeds whether they know it or not. Sounds powerful, right?
  • But RSS is one of those things that seems a little less than totally sexy and, in fact, saves people money and creates independence. Not exactly what capitalism, and thus marketed popularity, thrive on.

  • For more in depth information on whether RSS is dead, read this post by Nick Bradbury.
  • What can I, as a future Power User, do with RSS feeds?
  • The power of RSS feeds is that all of the information you want on the web can be brought to you, in one place (your reader). 

    If you are a blogger, you can subscribe to comments, which helps you keep track of, and respond to, your online conversations and communities. 

    You can track your social bookmarks. 

    You can create feeds that aggregate topics, such as bow hunting, for your readers’ convenience. 

    Suffice it to say, RSS feeds and readers are free, powerful and under used tools.

  • Give RSS feeds a chance.

Your Turn
Did you give RSS feeds a chance? How did it go? Let us know in the comments.

Anna is a Contributing Editor at Project Eve as well as a solopreneur and the founder of ANNACOLIBRI, an e-business specializing in values-based marketing, online publishing and web-presence. She knows and loves writing about content marketing (with an emphasis on values-based marketing), web presence, solopreneurship, alternative healthcare, spirituality/yoga, (single) parenting and topics related to older adults.  Community building is also an important to her; she is a founding member of the San Francisco Eves. She believes some of her best ideas grow out of offline conversations. If you have story ideas or tips, please e-mail her at: [email protected] You can also follow her on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/annacolibri

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