What is RSS?

I’ve been syndicating content on Heavy Backpack for some time now. So I thought it was about time to explain RSS to the uninitiated, so you can keep track of the news and articles added regularly (but not always everyday) to the site.

If you’re a visual person, I’ve included a video explanation made by Common Craft explaining RSS in really simple terms.

If it’s better for you to read it, here’s my written explanation below.

What is RSS?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is also know as a Feed. RSS is an automated way of updating you with content that has recently been added to your favourite websites or blogs. Many news portals, blogs and other web publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants to subscribe.

Why RSS?
The benefit of RSS is that it retrieves all the new content from multiple websites in one place. You don’t have to revisit individual websites, so you save time. You don’t have to sign up to any mailing list, so you stay private.

How do I use RSS?
You need to choose an RSS Reader. There is software for Mac, PC and web-based. For Mac I use NetNewsWire. Popular web-based readers are Google Reader, Bloglines and My Yahoo.

Once you have an RSS Reader, all you have to do now is find sites that syndicate content and subscribe to them.

Most sites will have a button that links to the RSS feed. The button may look something like the orange one below. Some browsers even have it built in (to the right of where you type the URL). Just copy this URL address to your RSS reader and you’re done.

For a further explanation, read more at Wikipedia

or Subscribe to Heavy Backpack now.

Posted in: Articles  ·  May 20    

Rick said,

May 24, 2008 @ 7:19 am

I actually track posts to Heavy-Backpack through an RSS reader regularly, and saw this post. I don’t know how many people use them, but I enjoy http://www.creaturetank.com -lets you almost create a personal site with the way you can customize it.

m64 said,

May 29, 2008 @ 1:02 am

Nice Article. Really good knowledge.

mike said,

July 9, 2009 @ 1:15 am

I’d never paid any attention to RSS previously but now I have a bit more of a clue, so thanks for the explanation, it does look like a useful system.

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