What the heck are RSS feeds?

In recent social media workshops the same question was raised: What is an RSS Feed? It occurred to me that us digital folk have assumed that everyone gets it. Everyone understands what that little orange symbol means. It seems we’re wrong. So here’s a quick explanation for any of you that don’t know what it is.

RSS stands for Rich Site Summary. It’s basically a way of is delivering regularly changing website content, like blogs, news sites and others.

The beauty of it is that it allows you to collate the RSS feeds from all the sites you like in one place to ensure you’re kept up to date with the latest posts or updates. This saves you time having to visit each of these sites separately. If you’re anything like me – who regularly visits well over 20 sites – this is a godsend.

You can aggregate all of the RSS feeds for your favourite sites in one place; the RSS reader. There are loads of these available, but Google has a great one if you’d like a suggestion (handily called Google Reader). Once you’ve set up a profile on Google Reader (or other) all you do is click on the RSS Feed button (like the big orange one I’ve used at the start of this post) or link on the site you like and follow the instructions to add it to your profile. Eh voila, your feed is there to be digested whenever you fancy.


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  1. Danny Somekh says:

    Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication? It probably doesn’t matter but I wish someone would come up with a definitive answer?!

  2. Hi Danny, oh I know … I find this with a lot of phrases these days. Far too many meanings. Unfortunately I don’t have a definitive answer for you as it seems both are acceptable. This was taken from Wikipedia: RSS (most commonly translated as “Really Simple Syndication” but sometimes “Rich Site Summary”).

  3. Shadey says:

    try this… visually a lot more pleasing than just pages of links

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