What is: RSS

Guides | Thoughts By 8 years ago

For me the most daunting thing about the Internet is its pure scope (Google-ing Social Media returns 184 Million hits!). I have often sat in front of it stunned into inaction by the limitless possibilities or wasted hours going nowhere useful. You can find information about anything, anywhere, anytime and on almost anyone. How on earth can you manage this? How do you go about finding the “right” information for you? And once you do, how can you stay up to date? Thankfully I was pointed in the direction of RSS and it seems to be one tool in the shed that can help with these questions.

RSS = Really Simple Syndication and to be honest it really is simple.

It is effectively a collection of “What’s New” on your favourite websites. It saves you running around the net wasting time and burning up your plans byte allowance. RSS keeps you up to date on your chosen websites by collating updates in one place. This place is called a READER and looks a bit like your email. I use Gmail so I am using Google Reader but there are plenty of others out there from all the usual suspects. I just log into my email, click the Reader and via a pop-up window I quickly know what’s new on my chosen sites and a preview of the item. Clicking the preview takes me to the item.

If you go to a site and you see this rss symbol you can subscribe to it (some sites have a ‘click here to subscribe’ link). Clicking the icon or link takes you to the RSS feeds web address – copy this address – click ‘add subscription’ in your Reader and paste in the link – it really is simple.

Now you can be kept up to date with all your favourite sites just by logging in to your Reader. Your subscriptions will get checked and you can see the number of new posts or updates each site has.

Now the tough bit – how do you find the sites that you want to subscribe to? Which sites can you trust? Social Media to the rescue – Ask People, tell people, share.

As I have a banking slant to Social Media you may find my feeds a bit dull but here are the sites I have found that I like over the last couple of days, please feel free to share yours. Which makes me think of another use for RSS – Really Simple Social Profiling but I’m guessing I’m not the first to think of that.






  • You make it sound too easy! For some reason I find the Google reader a little messy. I searched for software I could load onto my PC and found NewsGator, which has recently closed its free version. Similar to desktop based Twitter applications. Seemed to have a clean user interface. I’m on the search for another, but realistically I have a Google account so will likely use them for RSS. I am after a better user interface though! Any ideas?

  • Simon

    I’ve found the same thing with google. As convenient as online cloud model is, the actual delivery of google reader is just messy. iGoogle is somewhat easier to read, but its buggy and inconsistent. The syndication technology seems way of end-user readability….

  • claire

    i agree about google reader – i am devastated about net news wire – i would click on a little icon on my mac and then all this news that was completely tailored to my interests would appear in front of me – i am still not over the betrayal I felt when they sent me an email and told me how to transfer across to google reader – i have gone to checking my RSS once a day to once a week – i vote YES to the free debate!