Tech Support

What is RSS?

If you’re not yet familiar with RSS, here’s a primer. RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication. It’s a news aggregator – think of it as your own custom “portal” into the Internet. When you subscribe to an RSS news feed, new content will appear in your chosen RSS reader. The idea is you can pick and choose your favorite content from across the Internet, and have it all appear on one page.

This saves a lot of time by eliminating the need to visit each site separately. Of course you might also be tempted to spend more time reading and surfing around than you might otherwise have, but that’s another story! Let’s dig in.

How I Use My RSS Reader

Here’s a peek at my RSS reader. A nice collection of local weather, tech blogs, some marriage and family related blogs, global and local news, and of course, the Let’s Get Digital blog.

Subscribing to a News Feed

To subscribe to a news feed from one of your favorite sites, look for the words “subscribe”, “RSS” or the orange RSS symbol RSS and click on it. There are many different readers available, so when you subscribe to a feed, it will ask you which one you use. Some are web-based and others are desktop versions which require a one-time software download to your computer (for example RSS Owl, free).

Try a Few Different Readers to See What You Like

I’ve tried both Yahoo and Google’s RSS readers, and I prefer Google.  I think it has an easier to read format.  Note that Google offers two ways to keep up with your favorite news feeds – the Google Homepage (all content on one page, like the front page of a newspaper) and the traditional RSS reader (each feed displayed in a separate list). Use the second option if you have more news sources than can be easily organized on one page; otherwise stick to the first option.

I use the Google homepage.  Like many RSS readers including Yahoo, you can organize your content just the way you like it – weather at the top, news on the right, and so on – and change the “theme” – look and feel, colors – with the click of a button.  You can also make it your browser’s homepage, so when you boot up in the morning it’s right there ready to go (look for the “make iGoogle my homepage” link at bottom left).

Start using an RSS reader today to organize your favorite content on the web. Like what you see here? Subscribe to Digital Zen to stay on top of the fast moving digital world.

1 Comment

  1. Betsy McConnell

    01/11/2011 at 5:06 pm

    Thank you for the information! I recently started a website-and while my mom thinks I am a genius for doing so-I still don’t know all the ins and outs of the tech world. This info on the RRS feed will hopefully help my website grow!

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