RSS really changed the way I used the internet when I first discovered it late last year. If you’re not using RSS, take 10 minutes to read this and your online life will be much better for it! The 10 minutes will pay itself back many times over.
I promised Ingrid I’d do this post this week, apparently I’m too late because she discovered it for herself and guess how she feels about it?
Ready to discover some “awesome shit” for the uses of RSS for yourself? Read on.
What Is RSS And Why Should I Care?
RSS stands for really simple syndication. In a capsule, what it does it feeds you updates from websites and blogs you follow. For example 20 of your friends have blogs, so you visit each of these blogs from your bookmarks once or twice a day to see if they’re updated. With RSS, you don’t have to do that anymore. When your friend’s blog is updated, you’ll see it updated on your RSS reader.
In short, instead of “going out” to look for your content, they’ll just “come in” to you naturally. Why waste time visiting 20 blogs a day only to find that 16 of them aren’t updated? That’s valuable time you could’ve spent on something else.
Ok That’s Great. So… What Do I Do?
Well first you head on over to Google Reader and log in. Not a problem if you’re signed up with at least one Google service (and who isn’t, right?). It’ll probably be blank since you haven’t added any RSS feeds yet. But that’ll change soon.
So now you head over to one of the blogs you frequent (like say, mine) and look for something that says “Subscribe” with a little logo. Something like this:
Right click on the icon and choose “copy link location”. Got it?
Head back to Google Reader, on the left you’ll see a link to add subscriptions that looks like this:
Click on it, a text box will appear, paste the link location inside and you’re all set to go! Your Google Reader page should now look a little something like this:
So now you’re done! Every time I update this blog, you’ll know when you visit Google Reader. Do this for all the blogs you follow and voila! time saved permanently.
There are lots of things you can do on Google Reader as well like share and star items, but the first step is to just subscribe to a couple of blogs and get used to information finding you, instead of having to hunt for it.
If you haven’t already, subscribe to my blog by following these steps, and let me know if this guide helped you and if RSS makes a great improvement to your online habits. I’m betting it will. Next thing you should do is pass the link to this handy RSS how-to guide to a friend and help them make their internet life a little better too.
If for some reason this guide didn’t help or just confused you even more, please let me know in the comments!
And just for your viewing pleasure, here’s a Common Craft video on RSS in Plain English (if my blog post wasn’t plain enough).