Using RSS to keep up with your favourite sites

If you want to keep up with this blog but don’t want to have to remember to check back on a regular basis, one option available to you is the RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines or podcasts. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner that’s easier than checking them manually.

To take advantage of this technology, you’ll need a feed reader. The software is either web-based, which has the benefit of being able to be accessed anywhere in a browser, or client software, which arguably has more features. Google Reader and Bloglines are two of the most popular web-based options, and on the client side, RSS support is built into Microsoft Outlook 2007, Internet Explorer 7, and Mozilla Thunderbird, to name but a few.

The technology lends itself well to the typical email software layout, as blog posts or articles appear in feed reader software much like an email — the sender is the site itself, the subject is the headline, and the message is the body of the article.

I personally use Google Reader to read my favourite blogs. It features typical Google simplicity and an interface very similar to Gmail. I have a feeling, however, that RSS is really going to take off in the mainstream now that it is in Microsoft Office, in Outlook 2007. Up until this point, you needed one of several plugins to read RSS feeds in Outlook 2003. In 2007, the technology is baked right in.

As far as my feeds go, you can subscribe the RSS feed using a reader, or you can have the RSS feed delivered as email. There is also a feed just for the comments on this blog.

5 thoughts on “Using RSS to keep up with your favourite sites

  1. RSS is a great way to keep up on your favorite blogs and news sites! In fact, I just subscribed to yours right before writing this comment. Great site, I will be reading in the future. Check mine out!

  2. Hello Neil,

    When i saw this post (in my reader), i thought you were going to post the video ‘RSS in Plain English’

    But you didn’t :).

  3. Mike – I’ve been subscribed to your blog for a while now. We actually spoke back maybe half a year ago, before you went AWOL for your CPA exams. Good luck with the results!

    E.D. – Yeah I’ve been giving Tumblr a whirl for a little while and just decided to link to it at the top of my blog. I’m going to write a short post drawing everyone’s attention to it hopefully this week. It’s a great tool, more people should be using it!

    That video was great too, thanks for sharing the link.

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