RSS: 101

By: Scott Lindsay

You don't have to look far to find the initials RSS on many of your favorite websites. Maybe you see the term "RSS Feed" and wonder if this is a special agricultural product for livestock or possibly something you'd purchase at an electronics shop.

The initials RSS actually stand for 'Really Simply Syndication'. Some in the technical field also use the initials to correlate with 'Rich Site Summary' or 'RDF Site Summary'.

No matter what you call it, RSS is a means of reducing online searches for regularly desired information in articles, stories, blogs or other specialty information sites.

RSH: Really Simple History

RSS, as we know it, was unleashed just after Christmas 1997 and has been improved upon many times since its inception.

The World at Your Fingertips

In the simplest of terms RSS allows you to select categories of interest and you will be alerted when new content has been discovered. This information is collected and sent on to you for your consideration.

For instance if you have a site you regularly review an RSS feed allows you first-hand notification when new material is available.

Those who do not use RSS feeds are forever conducting online searches to find the information they desire. An RSS feed eliminates the frustration.

The Use of RSS

In order to use an RSS feed you need a feed reader. In most cases this software application will appear similar to an email account. While the software can be purchased it is also possible to find free versions online.

One of the benefits for the end-user is the fact that unlike email you do not need to receive unwanted material. With email you have to opt in and opt out. With an RSS feed you can change the settings whenever you want and receive only the information you desire.

Most RSS readers also provide the requested material in a simplified text format allowing the material to be read without photos and unwanted formatting.

Typically a cut-and-paste of an appropriate website link and a list of predetermined topics is all that is needed to have your RSS reader search for articles related to your interest.

A RSS feed allows you to opt in and opt out without the service you are interested in having to manage a list. An RSS feed also allows you to be as specific as you need to be in the subject matter you want to read.

Really Simple Growth

While RSS feeds are becoming more readily available you should know that not all websites are equipped to provide this service. Look for the orange box with the RSS inside to insure availability.

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