What is RSS?

person_computer_deskThis video introduces RSS as a way to subscribe to websites and save time on the Web. An “old vs. new” theme illustrates how RSS differs from visiting web sites independently, including:

  • The new and old ways of reading news on the web
  • An introduction to RSS Readers (using Google Reader as an example)
  • How to identify and subscribe to an RSS feed
  • What to expect when using an RSS reader

The Internet has problems. Technorati says there are 50 million weblogs, and as you can see, it’s going up.

This is overwhelming. Our focus here is on a new and efficient way to keep up with all the cool stuff that’s happening on the Internet.

There’s the old slow way – Boo.
Then, there’s the new and fast way – Yay!
Here’s the difference between the new and the old way.

This is you, and here are your favorite websites. You log on to your computer, and you’re looking for something new. You go out to your favorite blogs. Anything new? Nope. You go out to your favorite news sites. Anything new? Nope.
Every time you look for something new and it’s not there, you’ve wasted valuable time. This is the old way.

Now, let’s consider the new and fast way, which simply means taking these arrows and turning them the other direction. This means that new things from blogs and your favorite sites come to you instead.

It’s like Netflix compared to the video store.

What we’re talking about is using a single website that becomes your home for reading all the new stuff that’s coming from your favorite websites.

There are two steps to getting started.

The first step is creating a home for reading new posts. This is a website called a reader. All you need is a free account to get started.

My favorite sites are listed on the left, and on the right I can scroll through all the new posts from my favorite sites in a single place.

So, to complete step one, you need to sign up for a news reader.

Step number two, is to set up a connection between your reader and your favorite websites. Setting up these connections is called subscribing, and it’s really important. Nearly every blog and news site offers the ability for you to subscribe so new things from these sites show up here in your reader.

To set up these subscriptions, look for funny little icons. This is the standard orange one. You may also see these. These little icons say, “Hey! Subscribe to me! I can save you time!” Once you find one of these buttons on your favorite site, click on it and the page that appears will give you everything you need to subscribe.

After you click that button, one of two types of pages will appear. This is one that provides one click access to subscribing in your reader. The other page you’re likely to see looks like this – with code on it. If you see this page, copy the address at the top of the page, go to your reader and look for a link that says “Add Subscription” or “Add Feed.” Click on that, and paste the address into your reader.

Once you’ve added your subscriptions and the connection is there, new posts begin arriving in your reader and you’ll see why this is the new, faster way to read the web. It’s addictive, so be careful!

A quick recap. There are two things you need to do. Number one is to go sign up for a reader. Number two, go to your favorite websites, click on the icon and subscribe.