RSS (Really Simple Syndication) refers to news and content that comes to you. More and more people are zeroing in on the material they want — content from bloggers, news outlets, even advertisers — and getting it through online subscriptions rather than through random Web surfing.
RSS lets publishers stream content instantly to users who have subscribed to their feeds, and it lets users follow the latest entries on lots of sites without having to check them one at a time. When new material is posted on a site, subscribers are notified and sent either full versions or summaries.
Users can subscribe to updated text and rich media either by using an RSS reader (also called an aggregator), through some email programs like Yahoo! mail, through a Web browser (both Firefox and Apple’s Safari have built-in feed readers), or by using a service, such as MyYahoo or NetVibes, that lets you collect feeds of your choice on a personalized Web page you create.
Just subscribe to a handful of feeds by clicking on the XML or RSS button on web pages, and you’ll see content appear in your reader of choice only minutes after it appears online. If the term RSS is too techie for you, that’s fine. Yahoo! almost never uses the term; instead, they talk about subscribing to content.
RSS news reader programs, or feed aggregators, include:
- Miro (subscribe to rich media, PC/Mac)
- Bloglines (Web-based reader, PC/Mac)
- Google Reader (Web-based reader, PC/Mac)
- NewzCrawler (PC)
- SharpReader (PC)
- AmphetaDesk (PC, Mac, Linux)
- NetNewsWire (Mac OS X)
- NetNewsWire for the iPhone
- FeedDemon (PC)
- FeedReader (PC)
- Aggie News (PC)
- Wikipedia has a list of Web-based and desktop news readers
- Other news readers
For more background
• A rich directory of RSS Resources can be found on the Social Media Co-Lab Wiki
• News that comes to you — RSS feeds offer info-junkies a way to take the pulse of hundreds of sites and blogs.
• Tools for the info-warrior — RSS readers ride to the rescue of heavy news grazers.
Please comment on, correct or expand upon this article.JD Lasica works with nonprofits, social change organizations and businesses on social media strategies. See his profile, visit his business blog, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.