As an emerging technology, I’m sure there’s been plenty of coverage out there but I thought I’d share some knowledge. Especially since RSS penetration is only around 5%. The good part is that if you’re a part of the Facebook generation you’re already using RSS feeds without even knowing it!
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and their links are usually associated with this image: . You’ve probably seen that image on a lot of news sites and sites with content that’s regularly updated. And what can you do with these links? In short, they’re like TV channels and your computer’s the TV. You can surf the web and read content from these websites. So you’re saying, “How the hell’s that different from just going to the website and why should I click on these orange speaker boxes?” Ahh…. so here’s the magic: RSS Aggregators!
Using RSS aggregators like Google Reader, NewsGator, Bloglines is like having your own personal internet Tivo. These aggregators let you subscribe to all those websites that you visit everyday and enables you to read all of the latest up to date information as they are published all in one place. For example I used to have a set of websites that I read regularly, about 20 of them. Unfortunately for me, not all of them were always updated everyday but I still put in the effort to check on them everyday to make sure I didn’t miss any articles. Can you imagine how much time this used to take me? I was
spending wasting at least an hour everyday checking these websites sometimes 2 or 3 times a day to check for updated content. Then I discovered Google Reader. Now my RSS aggregator does all the work for me, crawling over 120 RSS subscriptions and saving all the updates in one central location for me to read at my convenience.
Some form of RSS has been in use on the internet for the past 10 years. But it is only in the past year that it has really taken up steam and is becoming a mainstream model for information and content distribution used by major news sites, blogs, and now social networking sites ala your Facebook homepage. I’m sure we’ll be hearing and seeing much more about RSS feeds in the years to come.