Following a blog or multiple blogs can be daunting. Though some blogs, like this one, allow you to sign up for email updates some don’t. Or maybe they do but you’re not quite ready to commit to being spammed. This is especially true if you want to screen the blog posts and only read ones you are really interested in. Lucky for us someone in the life of the internet invented RSS.
What is RSS?
RSS is a technology that is being used by web users around the world to keep track of their favorite websites.
It used to be that to keep track of updates on a website you had to ‘bookmark’ websites in your browser and manually return to them on a regular basis to see what had been added.
RSS changes that. It stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’ and it’s like a news feed that you subscribe to.
“I find the ‘subscription’ description helpful. It’s like subscribing to a magazine that is delivered to you periodically but instead of it coming in your physical mail box each month when the magazine is published it is delivered to your ‘RSS Reader’ every time your favorite website updates.”
To begin with RSS you need to find an RSS reader.
The hubbub around the interwebs is that Google Reader, a popular feed reader is going away. Fortunately there are many feed readers around with a variety of approaches and features, a popular one is called Feedly, but the one I use is Netvibes. Both of these feed readers work a little like email. As you subscribe to feeds you’ll see unread entries from the sites you’re tracking marked in bold.
When you create a Netvibes account it provides a large, ‘Add content’ button at the top left. Clicking it allows you Browse categories or Add widgets like weather or news feeds. Below that is the option to ‘Add a feed’. (Watch the how to video here)
Using the RSS button
When you surf to a site you can usually tell if it has an RSS feed by looking for an orange icon with a broadcast type white icon in it. You can either click the icon and copy and paste the url it gives you into Netvibes under ‘Add a feed’. Or search for the blog you want to subscribe to directly within Netvibes.
Once you’ve done this and have subscribed to a few feeds you’ll begin to see unread items and you can start reading. Netvibes allows you to categorize and organize your subscriptions under different customizable tabs. It makes it super simple to follow multiple blogs at once and only read the posts that truly peak your interest.
RSS God’s style…
Now there is nothing new under the sun and so it is with the internet, God was really the original RSS feed. Spending time in his word or even just with him, will give you his bolded messages for you. Though much more subtle than a Netvibes feed, God’s feeds are life changing and memorable in a world of information overload. Ask him what his message for you is today. Oh and let me know what he says.