RSS is really quite useful and easy, though it’s stuck with an old-school techie name and a standard icon that doesn’t convey its value very well. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. I’d rather call it “Free Home Delivery” because that’s really what it’s like.
RSS is what allows you to “subscribe” to your favorite blogs. It’s a standard that makes this process work across a variety of platforms – just about every website technology supports it, and most browsers (and a variety of software packages) can be used to receive these subscriptions.
Typically, you’ll see bloggers promote a subscription link and/or icon somewhere on their site:
If you have a Google Account (it’s free and there are a bunch of other reasons to get one, so now is a good time to sign up with Google if you haven’t already), you can subscribe to this RSS “feed” and have it show up on your Google homepage or in the Google Reader service.
I use the Google Reader service as it’s easy to use, and accessible from anywhere. You may prefer to have software installed on your computer to receive your RSS feeds.
Most RSS readers allow you to organize your various feeds into folders, which can help keep things organized as you accumulate a lot of feeds (and you probably will).
Now, rather than browse around to the various blogs you’d like to keep up with, you can simply open your RSS feed reader and get all the latest updates easily and automatically.
Photo credit: ralphhogaboom