RSS, which as we all know, stands for Really Simple Syndication. And, it is simple actually. Nowadays, subscribing to an RSS “feed” is as easy as clicking a link.
Before the plethora of RSS readers like MyYahoo!, Newsgator, Bloglines and others, that wasn’t that case. In the early days, you’d click the minuscule orange button which usually contained the letters RSS or XML and what did your eyes behold? Jibberish, at least to those of us not schooled in the art of programming. Actually, what you were looking at was XML, which stands for eXtensible Markup Language. (Like I said, jibberish!)
What used to be an oddity is now a commodity. RSS is becoming a staple for syndicating and subscribing to content on blogs and websites.
Still, it’s been difficult to explain the technology. Now, an Associated Press writer, Seth Sutel, has written what may be the best explanation to date. In the article, Seth says, “RSS feeds are a very simple and convenient way to receive updated items from Web sites that you like, so you don’t have to go trolling around to each site to see what’s new. Think of it as a Web page that does your surfing for you.” I like the term he uses at the end of the piece. Seth says RSS is really just “plumbing.”
If you’re not using RSS, let me advise you to get a feed reader (I use Bloglines for the most part.), and start looking for a button on the site to which you’d like to subscribe that corresponds with that reader, click it, and start adding feeds.
For example, as I mentioned I use Bloglines. Whenever I come across a blog to which I want to subscribe, I look for a Bloglines button. One click and Bloglines knows what to do with it.
One word of caution…if you click on the little orange button (There’s a new one out now, but it’s still orange.), you may still see the XML code. Don’t panic. Just copy and paste the URL into your feed reader. It works in exactly the same manner, but just requires that extra step.