Thursday, November 8, 2007
(Here's my feed if you would like to subscribe now)
Ok great, so what exactly does RSS stand for and why should I care?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. When you create a new post with Blogger it publishes a new RSS “feed”, which is simply a stripped down version of your website. It contains the basic text and any images you display.
I don’t get it. What’s so good about a stripped down version of my site?
In today’s ADD, news-hungry society, RSS has exploded in popularity. People want as much information as they can get their hands on, with as little effort as possible.
With RSS comes “Feed readers” like Google Reader. These applications allow readers to “consume” or subscribe to your sites feed. When you post a new article, the user is alerted. The great thing about these feed readers or RSS readers is that they provide a quick list of your article subjects. So instead of being overwhelmed with a page load of content, they can simply scan for subjects that interest them and then drill down further if they wish.
I’m starting to get this RSS thing… but maybe you can create some analogy for me to make it clearer?
Boy you sure do ask for a lot. Ok – here goes: Let’s say you go to the store and purchase a magazine on computer software. Chances are good that you will flip open a page and have a subscription card fall on to your lap. For this example, let’s pretend it’s a subscription to the latest Microsoft news. Well, if you like Microsoft and you care about their news (I’m an Apple guy by the way) you’ll fill out their card, write a check and send it off in the mail. Now the first of every month – you’ll get a brand new magazine from Microsoft and learn about their many failed attempts to beat Apples’ iPod with their Zune (sorry, I just had to throw that in there). And of course if you get tired or the same ol’ same ol’, you can cancel at any time.
RSS is the same way (Minus the paid subscriptions, thankfully). If you run across a site that you find interesting, you can simply subscribe to that sites feed and you’ll be alerted to anything new coming from there. And of course, you can cancel the site feed at any time.
This was an introduction to RSS. In future articles I will discuss ways we can present an RSS feed for our users to consume. In the meantime, digest this information, because RSS is something you need to know about if you’re going to be a serious blogger.