Just another UMW Blogs weblog

It’s Really Simple

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.  It’s a way for websites like blogs to offer their content in a syndicated fashion for anyone to use as they wish.  Generally, the purpose of an RSS feed (the RSS output from a site) is used in some sort of aggregator or “reader” program/website.  The reader keeps track of multiple RSS feeds, it may keep an unread count, provide categorical functions or search options, and it could also offer up new interests to the user.

RSS is based on open standards (and they’re actually more than one flavor of RSS), so it’s very easy for sites to offer feeds in the format.  News sites, blogs, twitter feeds, and almost any sort of content website that offers information in a periodical manner on the Internet also offers an RSS feed.  There’s usually a little icon somewhere, probably easy to miss, unless of course you’re looking for it.  WordPress generates all of that stuff automatically, so all of us here at umwblogs have a feed as soon as we start a blog.

RSS feeds are useful if you like to follow the events or updates to particular websites, especially when using a functional reader program like Google Reader. (Interesting fact, Google Reader can also keep track of updates to pages without RSS feeds — Google spends all day looking at websites, it’s their job.)  I don’t use any RSS feeds, but occasionally I venture over to a very popular RSS aggregator that does all the aggregation for you.  It’s called Google News, and it has all sorts of categories with relevant articles in each.  Of course, since it’s Google, you also get the added googleness of being able to search through all sorts of news (everything that ever happened?).

So, RSS Feeds – pretty nice if you like to keep up with a website that is (or websites that are) periodically updated.  RSS readers or aggregators help with the process, making everything pretty and functional at the same time.  It’s not too complicated.

image credit: www.iconspedia.com/icon/newspaper-rss-feed-1430.html


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