RSS: What is it Anyway?

Really, REALLY BIG RSS feed button

We find this funny looking symbol (or some form of it) everywhere online. What does it mean? It stands for RSS or “Really Simple Syndication”. In a nutshell, When you see this symbol on a website it usually means you can have some kind of content from that site delivered directly to you. This means you do not have to keep visiting the site over  and over to see if there have been any updates.

If you subscribe to a site’s RSS feed, you will instantly be notified when new content is added to the site. You can opt to have these updates delivered to your e-mail or you can receive them via a special piece of software called an RSS reader. One very popular (and free) RSS reader is Google Reader but there are many others.

Why subscribe to RSS?

If you like to keep informed on a specific topic, using RSS is the easiest way to keep track of all your favorite online resources. Once you subscribe to a site’s RSS feed, you can check your e-mail or RSS reader each day to catch up on any new information from your favorite site(s). Using RSS can save you a lot of time especially if you like to read more than a couple of websites.  Using RSS means you don’t have to take the time to visit each individual site you subscribe to. Using your RSS reader, you can see at a glance what the new content is on each site. You can then decide if the content is something you want to read.

The following video will help to illustrate how RSS works and how easy it is to subscribe.

Now that you know how to use RSS, you can put your knowledge into practice by subscribing to our RSS feed. Enjoy!

Creative Commons License photo credit: HiMY SYeD / photopia






2 responses to “RSS: What is it Anyway?”

  1. susiecrossman Avatar

    This description of RSS helps clarify what RSS is and does. However, what are the dangers with RSS pertaining to viruses, Trojan Horse, etc.?

  2. Nikki B. Avatar

    This is a great question Susie. I have done some research and have never found an instance where RSS subscriptions were connected with increased vulnerability to viruses or malware; however, having said that, it is extremely important to keep all of your devices protected with anti-virus and anti-malware software. If my computer was not protected, I wouldn’t even be online. There are just too many threats out there these days. However, I do not believe subscribing to an RSS feed poses any major risk.

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