The technical acronym for RSS is “Really Simple Syndication”, an XML format that was created to syndicate news, and be a means to share content on the web. Now, to geeks and techies that means something special, but to everyday folks like you and me, what comes to mind is, “Uh, I don’t get it?”
So, to make RSS much easier to understand, in Oprah speak, RSS stands for: I’m “Ready for Some Stories”. It is a way online for you to get a quick list of the latest story headlines from all your favorite websites and blogs all in one place. How cool is that? (Click on image for larger view)
Suppose you have 50 sites and blogs that you like to visit regularly. Going to visit each website and blog everyday could take you hours. With RSS, you can “subscribe” to a website or blog, and get “fed” all the new headlines from all of these 50 sites and blogs in one list, and see what’s going on in minutes instead of hours. What a time saver!
That one place where your RSS list is created is called an RSS Reader, and it gathers all the headlines from all the websites and blogs you have subscribed to. In a moment, I will describe how to get an RSS Reader.
Subscribing to RSS feeds
But first, to “subscribe” to a website or blog’s RSS feed simply means that you are telling that website or blog, “Yes please. Send me your story headlines.” It’s like subscribing to a magazine or newsletter. Instead of getting a magazine or email, you will just get a list of headlines sent to your RSS reader. If the headline looks interesting to you, all you have to do is click on the headline and you’ll be sent to the whole story.
In order to subscribe to a website or blog’s RSS, all you have to do is click on an RSS symbol like one of those shown in the diagram above, or a text link of the words “Subscribe to our RSS feed” on the website or blog. Typically, you can find these RSS symbols or text links in your browser window, on the sides of the website page, or on the bottom of the page. The publishers of the websites and blogs really want people to subscribe to their RSS, so they will make it very easy for you to find the subscription links.