What is an RSS Feed?

By: Kevin Hayes –

If you were to log onto your computer and look for new, “interesting” news on any given website, you would have to sift through the different headlines until you find an article that sticks out as possibly thought-provoking. Another way of looking at this concept is with movies – when you go to a video store, you look through the shelves of films until you settle upon one that you wish to rent. In recent years, video distribution companies, such as Netflix, have turned this process around in an effort to provide you, the consumer, with a list of television shows and movies that they think you would find enjoyable. RSS feeds rely on this very same idea, except for the fact they deal with internet news and blogs instead.

RSS, popularly (and rightfully so) dubbed as Real Simple Syndication, uses a variety of web feed formats in order to take the information of a given website and publish it on another simultaneously (such as a personal RSS reader) using simple XML code. Many news sites, blogs and other online publishers syndicate their content in this manner as one of these feeds to whoever is interested in reading it.

The creation of a basic RSS reader is rather simple – all you need to do is create an account on a reader program (some of the more popular ones include Feedly, InoReader and Newsblur), find one of the hundreds of little orange pulsing logos similar to the one above, and click on it. Most websites will then take you to a page where you can locate and copy the feed’s URL link to paste in your RSS reader.

After that, you’re all set! As new bits of news are published, they will begin to pop-up in your reader. No longer do you have to individually check multiple websites, for everything will appear on one page.


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