23 Aug 2006
Up until about two months ago, I always used the RSS reader built into my Mac’s Safari browser. But when I started giving presentations about blogging and sometimes had to use other people’s laptops, it became obvious that I needed to start using a web based feed reader. I don’t pretend to have figured out everything there is to know about RSS, but I do know that using it has greatly increased the amount of web based information, articles and blog posts I’m able to process in a typical day.
You may have noticed the button for RSS appearing on web pages, but might not have realised that this little orange button may just hold the answer to a pressing problem: too much news and information available online to keep up to date with it all. You don’t need to know much about RSS to use it other than that it takes a website and turns it into a feed that you can subscribe to.
To make use of RSS, you’ll first need to subscribe to a service like bloglines which is a free web based feed reader. Once you’ve signed up, you click the "add feed" button and paste in the URL of the page you’d like to subscribe to.
From then on, every time you log into bloglines, it will show you any new content that’s been posted since you last visited. This gives you the ability to stay current with content on dozens of websites by just taking a quick glance at bloglines a few times a day. Here’s what the interface looks like once you’ve subscribed to a few feeds:
For those who are interested, you can see what feeds I subscribe to by visiting my public page on bloglines.
Once you’ve looked at various web based feed readers (I haven’t fully explored the different options myself and welcome input in the comments of this post – here’s the google results and a more extensive listing), you can subscribe to the feed for cybersoc.com by either dropping the URL into your chosen feed reader or by clicking the appropriate badge on the right side of this page.