RSS (Milestone 5)

Yesterday in class a few of us were talking about RSS, what it is and how to use it.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication (among other things) and essentially its a way of publishing the information on your website in a standardized way.

It’s used for a variety of things including:
Aggregating news from various websites.
Sharing text, sound, images and video. (RSS forms the basis of Podcasting and Vlogging- as well as a lot of Torrent based content sharing)

Still confused? Ok, so lets say I have 30 websites that I go to every day, but I’m sick of opening up my 30 bookmarks. If I have an RSS reader- they can be web based and there are also a variety of RSS readers for all operating systems- I can “subscribe” to the RSS “feed” or newsfeed from that website, and instead of browsing through Salon, Plastic,Slashdot or my favorite blogs, I simply browse a list of my subscriptions, looking for new articles and headlines that interest me, presented in a very easy to read, quick to access format. If I want to know more, I can then click a link from within the feed to take me to the site itself.

Your RSS reader will let you know whenever a site’s content is updated, so you don’t have to keep going their looking for new content.

Other uses of RSS included feeds published by search engines that will automatically update themselves with new content based on your search terms. The possibilities are endless.

RSS feeds are what people subscribe to when they listen to podcasts in iTunes.
Also, everyone’s Fluency Blog already has an RSS feed. For instance, the RSS feed for Floggist is

Apple’s Safari supports RSS feeds, as does Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird.

Bloglines is a very common feed aggregator that allows you to personalize your feeds as simply or as complex as you’d like.

Here is what RSS looks like in Mozilla Thunderbird:

Notice that I have a subscription to all the class’ Fluency Blogs as well as today’s New York Times headlines and Slashdot headlines, and I can see which articles I have or haven’t read. When I select an article I can read all of the articles contents, including images. So assuming I’m up to date with my Fluency Blogs, every time I log in to my reader I can see if anyone has updated without having to browse to everyone’s site.

It goes without saying that Wikipedia has all the information you will ever need about RSS.

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