What is RSS

 What-Is-Rss          What is RCC 


RSS (which stands for Really Simple Syndication) is an easy way to receive automatic updates from your chosen websites. Instead of going to a website, the website will send you a message every time there is something new.  Websites offer RSS feeds of current headlines, sporting news or even updates to your favorite blogs. If you are web visitor, you need to install a software called News Reader (sometimes called Aggregator) on your desktop computer. All you have to do then is to use your News Reader to subscribe to the RSS content. This display the latest headlines and content from your chosen websites.

The icon you’ll see most often for an RSS feed is an orange square with what looks like a white radio wave inside it. This is very often placed at the top of a website or blog, or next to a category or the title of a podcast or blog if you are browsing a directory.

You might also see the phrase “subscribe to my feed”, “RSS feed” or other variations, and just to confuse you may even see “XML” in the box. Some people might change the color of the icon, to further throw you off the scent, but if you recognize the shape, or see any of the above phrases used, chances are you can click through to subscribe to the content you’ve found.

If you’re using a modern browser like Firefox, Internet Explorer 7, Safari or Flock (to name a few) your browser may tell you when a website has a feed available for you by displaying the RSS symbol, or the word RSS right inside or next to your browser’s address bar (the place you type website addresses).

Depending on how you have your browser configured clicking on an RSS feed button will either subscribe within the browser’s own “feed reader”, or activate the subscription in your feed reader of choice – whether that’s on your desktop, or online. If you want to take the RSS feed and manually place it in your feed reader, or save it for later, you simply have to right-click (control-click on a Mac) on the button and select “save link location”. This will then be copied to your clipboard, so that you can paste it wherever you like.


RSS isn’t limited to just bringing blog posts to your feed reader. In fact, almost any type of web content can be syndicated using RSS. Think of it like a tube for sending information from one place to another – it doesn’t mind what that data is, so long as it has an RSS feed.

That means that you can subscribe to a friend’s collection of photos on Flickr, for instance, and every time your friend adds a new set of photos, you’ll receive them automatically in your feed reader. Or if you want to follow a particular Internet TV show or audio podcast, you can subscribe to its feed, and have the content automatically appear in iTunes, Miro or another “podcatcher” with similar capabilities.

RSS will happily transmit video, audio and even documents by placing them in what’s called an “enclosure“, which acts in a similar way to an email attachment. But while an attachment actually contains the full file, an enclosure simply provides a link to the content so that it can be downloaded by your feed reading software.

Just as you can subscribe to any of these types of content, then, it’s also relatively simple for you to syndicate any content you can think of with RSS. In short, if you follow or create web content with some degree of regularity, RSS is a great way of making sure that you – or your audience – gets the latest updates as soon as they go live.


7 Responses to “What is RSS”

  1. This is a great description of RSS. I just started noticing the RSS Feed options on a lot of the websites I visit. I ignore the option because I figured it was some little techy perk that I really didn’t need. Needless to say that it is very helpful and a good way to soak in some info quickly! I requested the RSS Feed on the blogs for our class so that whenever one of you writes a new blog I get notification and can comment on it. I appreciate the time you took to explain!


  2. On the one hand, I think RSS feed is a great way to publicize a website or a blog that might not necessarily otherwise get a lot of hits (such as a small business, or in my case, an art gallery that wants to publish pictures of works in upcoming shows). However, if someone just uses a blog for fun, for general information, or for class purposes, then I think it can be kind of creepy that just anyone can subscribe to be updated on everything we post. It’s weird to think that as technology progresses, so does our access to other strangers.

  3. I think RSS is a great tool. I normally go to specific websites everyday to see if there has been anything updated. If only they used RSS, I would have to go through my normal procedure everyday!
    It is helpful at work. As I stated in my Blog, our department uses RSS for the various information that is updated from time to time. We also Podcast various meetings so everyone can see who is saying what. It really makes it hard to deny things when there are many people who are listening to what is being said!
    I still believe that the use of RSS is highly under used. I know I would use it more if the sites I visited had RSS as an option. Maybe shortly people will catch on.

  4. I learned a bit more about RSS after reading your blog post. After taking a look at http://www.faganfinder.com it appears that RSS is not really complicated. This site also indicates that the acronym can have a variation on the names. To name a few according to this site, there is “Really Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary, RDF Site Summary, or a variation on one of those.” While there are different versions, most RSS feeds have no problem from one version to another. One particular point to note is that there is a similar and improved format quite like RSS called Atom. There are advantages and disadvantages to using Atom, but the major difference is that for Atom, “it is also able to carry more complex information, and it is consistent across the syndication, storage, and editing of information.” This site notes that most everything applicable to RSS on their web pages are applicable also to Atom, but notes that to learn more about what is specific to Atom go to http://www.atomenabled.org.

  5. […] What is RSS by alrosa […]

  6. […] What is RSS, 2008/10/04 at 8:22 […]

  7. […] What is RSS by alrosa […]

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: