RSS For Success
For the next few weeks, I thought I'd highlight a few Web applications that some of you might find useful. Not that I'm any great-and-powerful computer wizard or anything, but I do like to get my nerd on now and again. As a result of said nerdiness, I've picked up a few good tricks that those not permanently tethered to a computer screen like myself might not know. This week we're going to cover one of the basics--RSS readers.
To care about RSS readers, I guess you have to know what an RSS feed is. Standing for "really simple syndication," an RSS feed is a simplified stream of data from Internet objects like blogs, online newspapers or Twitter accounts. This data comes in a clean, uniform format that has been striped down to just the relevant text/images/videos/whatever, and is updated each time the site in question posts new content.
Now, what the RSS reader does is act as an aggregation tool, letting you collect all the RSS feeds you like and read them in one place, as if you had assembled your own personal online newspaper. All you have to do is gather the RSS feed links you like, say from the Duct Tape Marketing Blog, our publisher Matt Barnes' blog and maybe The Huffington Post's Business pages, then paste said links into the proper field, and you're all set. The reader will store the links, allowing you to read the content there from now on, as opposed to the original Web site.
What's cool about RSS readers is that they help you keep track of huge amounts of content, especially items that you like but update erratically or too infrequently to remember. I use Google Reader as my RSS reader specifically for this reason, because I can set up a window on my Google homepage that will tell me whenever a page I like has been updated. An extra perk here is that Google Reader is Web-based, so I can access it from any Internet-connected computer, be it my home desktop, my work computer, my phone, whatever.
If you want to see some RSS reader options besides Google's, here are a few worth considering.
See you next week, when I think we're going to talk about another Google product, Google Alerts.