Sunday, February 10, 2008

RSS Feed

One of the coolest things I've discovered since I started blogging is the RSS feed.

Before I got into the world of blogs, my Yahoo home page had modules to keep me up-to-date on local, state, national and international news; the publishing industry; magazines I like; advice columns that entertain me; my favorite cartoon strips; practical advice; humor; health information; and local movie showtimes. I chose these modules from lists provided by Yahoo when I was designing my home page. I didn't understand how they worked--changing on a daily or even hourly basis to reflect the latest news of their various topics--but I liked having them.

After I started reading blogs a couple of years ago, I began finding more and more blogs I enjoyed, but it was a lot of trouble getting to them regularly. Whenever I found a blog I liked, I'd add it to my Favorites list. To get back to it, I'd have to click on Favorites, then find the particular blog I was looking for, and click on it--a lot of repetitive effort. Most days it was too much effort, or too time-consuming, and I'd end up having to ignore blogs I would have liked to keep up with more regularly.

Then one day I noticed the "RSS FEED" button on someone's blog and thought, "What is that?" I clicked on it, read the Help information explaining its use, and then added the RSS feed for that blog to my home page.

Voila! Suddenly I no longer had to make a special effort to find that particular blog. Instead, the blog's title and its most recent entry were right there on my home page, and all I had to do was click on them to read the blog. Plus, I could see when there were new entries, so I wouldn't waste time going to the blog only to be disappointed when there was nothing new.

After using the RSS feed for the first time, I went crazy with it. I started adding RSS-fed blogs to my home page right and left. I place them at the top of the page, because the blogs are what I most enjoy reading so I want to read them first.

I now have 28 blog feeds on my home page. It's great, but sometimes reading the blogs takes up all my computer time, and I never even get to the 40 news, information, and humor modules below.

Oh well. This is why net-surfing uses up so much time.

But the RSS Feed is really cool. Instant info on tap.

5 comments:

Shauna Roberts said...

One can do something similar if one uses a customized Google page as one's home page by using the "Add stuff" link at the top right. (Anyone who can't figure it out is welcome to write to me [ShaunaRoberts @ nasw.org for more detailed instructions.)

You're more clever than me—I've tried clicking the "add RSS feed" link on a blog, but couldn't make heads or tails of the instructions. I didn't even figure out that the blog summaries I was already getting on my Google page were RSS feeds. So thanks for your explanation.

Charles Gramlich said...

I need to sign up for this because I'm finding it starting to get a bit time consumming to go to everyone's blog every day as well.

Shauna Roberts said...

But Charles, if you do that, it will really cut into my blog stats! I count on your frequent visits to keep my "hits" count high. ;-)

cs harris said...

I think I'm starting to turn into an technophobe. Haven't tried this yet.

Rob Hopcott said...

Wanting to keep as much time for my online writing but also wanting to keep track with all my friends around the blogosphere led me to find a couple of good solutions a while back.

Bloglines.com is free and brings all your feeds together into one online point.

But the one I mainly use is Akregator which sits on my desktop and reaches out to check for new posts on hundreds of sites every day.

It is free software that runs on my Ubuntu operating system (ubuntu.org).

Ubuntu is an open source Linux distribution software which is freely downloadable and replaces your Windows (tm) system with one that is non-proprietory.

Ubuntu is an African term for humaneness - for caring, sharing and being in harmony with all of creation. As an ideal, it promotes co-operation between individuals, cultures and nations.

What more could anyone want?