What is an RSS Feed and What do I Do With It
 In Social Media Tips

I use an RSS Feed with a Feed Reader as an easy way to follow people’s blogs, magazines and news on-line.  You can check for updates to your favorite websites using their RSS feeds, without having to visit each site individually. To get started, find information onl-line that you want to follow; sources who you like what they are doing and want to read on a regular basis. Here is how it works.

  1. Choose a RSS program

    To use RSS, you will need to use a RSS Aggregator, a single program that gathers information from all your favorite sites. If you use a lot of different computers during your day, a web-based RSS aggregator is a good choice. I use Google Reader, which puts the feeds from the websites I follow onto my own Google Reader page, accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.

    You can tell if a website has a RSS feed if it displays the orange RSS symbol. These are the link to the address of the website’s RSS feed. RSS symbols are usually found at the top of a website’s front page. Larger sites like Newspapers may have multiple RSS feeds, with different feeds for each section, such as separate news feeds for different topic areas.

  2. Subscribe

    To subscribe to a RSS feed, you need to copy its web address into your RSS aggregator. Some aggregators will automatically subscribe to a feed by simply left clicking on the orange RSS symbol or the aggregator’s own logo, which can often be found close by. Alternatively, right click on the orange RSS logo and left click on the ‘copy shortcut’ option, and then paste the address straight into your RSS aggregator.

  3. View your RSS feeds

    Now your RSS aggregator has the RSS feed’s web address, it will automatically check for new updates at regular intervals, you don’t have to do a thing. Depending on your program, you may receive the entire article, or the first few lines with a link to see the whole article online.

Here is a great little video about how to use RSS with Google Reader.

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