Monday, August 23, 2010

Thanks, Facebook! Now I Can Explain RSS


RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication," and I seriously doubt that after reading that sentence you know more than you did before reading it. RSS, however is a really important concept in the world of blogging. Thanks to Facebook, I think I can explain in terms Facebook users will understand.

Suppose you have 200 Facebook friends and you want to read their latest news. You could accomplish this by going to the profile page of each friend one at a time. In many cases, you would find that nothing on the page has been added since the last time you looked. Secondly, the process of going to each page is very time-consuming.

Luckily, Facebook takes all of the new content your friends have posted and puts it in one place for you, on your "newsfeed."

Think of blogs as Facebook profiles and RSS as the newsfeed. When you come across a blog that you like, you don't have to actually go to that blog in order to see when there is new content. Instead, you can "subscribe" to that blog through your RSS reader.

How to Get an RSS Reader
Google Reader is my choice. First, I set up an iGoogle page. iGoogle is my homepage and serves as a "dashboard," putting many useful tools at my fingertips. For instructions on how to set up an iGoogle page, go here.

Once you get the iGoogle page established, click the "Add stuff" link near the upper right portion of the screen. Search for "Google Reader" and add it. This short video gives information from there on how to use Google Reader.

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