August 25, 2007

What is RSS Feed and Why should I subscribe ?

It is amazing the number of people who don't use RSS feed just because they don't know what it or How to use it, most people don't know how powerful and simple RSS is !

I am not gonna bore you with the history of RSS its expansion lets get to the point why you should be using RSS is simply to save time and be update to the information you want !

What is so special about RSS ?
Without RSS if you liked a website/blog you would Bookmark it or just remember it and hope to visit them on periodic or random manner. Works great if you have 3-4 websites but we all know over a period of time the "Must Visit" List grows and grows and before you know it the list just overwhelms you, you tend to forget many and finally you find yourself just out of time to visit them all. And many time you are visiting a site just to find nothing has changed. Every single time you visit a site to see if anything is new or not you wasted some time!

Wouldn't it be great if all the sites you like would alert or invite you whenever there is something new ? That is exactly what a RSS feed does !

Now with RSS you can visit as soon as something new is added ! Which means you save time by visiting only those places which have something new!

So RSS feed is kinda like Alert mail for what's new on the site !

How do I get the feed? do I need sign up ?
To get the feed you need a Feed reader. You can signup for a web based Free Reader at Google, Netvibes , My yahoo etc !

Feed reader is like inbox or a notice board for all your feeds. once you have signed up for any of Feed reader, all you need to do now is link your fav site's feed to you feed reader.

This process of linking your Feed reader to the site you want to read is called subscribing and it is as fast as saying subscription.

I am sure you might have seen the Icons for subscribing to a RSS Feed on websites, on your browser. These are the icons you need to look for if you want to subscribe to a Feed !
What is RSS feed, Feed icons

All you need to do is click them which will take you to your feed reader to subscribe. Here is a screen cast of subscribing to a feed using Google reader.

The feed reader checks for any new feeds from all the subscriptions you have and groups them according to the site ! Here is the screenshot of the Homepage of google reader.

Google reader

In google reader the subscription is on the left and the feeds on the right. Just click on the subscription to read the new feeds. It also tells you how many unread or new feed is available.

You cam also Check out this youtube video from Commoncraft !

Some sites even have option to to subscribe via email. That means the new feeds will be sent to you via email !

Bottom line is let the feed work for you Subscribe to feed and forget about missing out on great stuff ! And use the time saved to make yourself a Coffee !

Now many of you who are reading this on your Feed Reader, Good Job !