What in the World is an RSS Feed?


Some of us like to try to stay on the cutting edge of technology, and others of us have a tendency to get dragged along by the technological current.  Since I consider myself somewhere in the middle, I thought I’d share a little bit of information that I’ve recently found to be useful.  

If you’ve read very many blogs or visited any news sites, you may have noticed a few strange but related words like “RSS”, “Atom”, and “feed” floating around over the past few years.  You may have even clicked one of these links only to be taken to a strange looking page.  I want to offer a simple explanation of what this feed stuff is all about in hope that you’ll find it useful.  

Basically, a feed is a method of getting specific website information (especially blogs and news) to come to you in a variety of ways (to your e-mail, to another website, to a program on your computer, etc.).  The major types of feeds include RSS, RDF, Atom, and Feedburner.  My preferred method of getting information from these feeds is to have it delivered to my e-mail.  So rather than having to check people’s blogs to see if they’ve posted anything new, now I get the information via e-mail whenever they post.    

The most flexible option I’ve found is a service called RSSFWD.  Another option that’s less flexible but works with Outlook and Outlook Express is called RSS Popper.  Either way, you’ll need to copy the feed url address so that you can specify the feed you to which you want to subscribe.  

I know it sounds complicated, but it’s really much simpler than it sounds.  Basically, copy the link of the feed, paste it into the website when you click on the RSSFWD link, and then enter your e-mail address on the next page.  

But here’s the really easy part: I just added a feature on this blog so that all you have to do to subscribe to this feed is to submit your e-mail address in the “subscribe” box on the upper right of this page.

One other noteworthy item:  If you want to get the photos included in the post (who wouldn’t?), make sure that you use RSS 2.0 or Atom feeds, not plain RSS, if you have the option.