What is RSS?

Before social media and posts regarding the latest news, we had RSS. RSS stands for Rich Site Summary and is sometimes called Real Simple Syndication – due to its ease of use. It was created to standardize online content in a format readable by computers. RSS allows web sites and applications known as news aggregators to take the core information from a website and republish it. This content is taken from the RSS feed of the respective website and repackaged in a form that is easy to read.

Why it’s used

Created in March of 1999, this relatively old technology is still in wide use today. Using an RSS reader you can subscribe to a website’s RSS feed, which will constantly monitor the website for new posts, removing the need to manually check each website.  This was, and still is, a huge boost to productivity. Instead of going to each site and checking for new content, you can use an RSS reader and have the websites notify you.

How to use it

Using RSS can be a confusing task. You may even be using it as we speak (I know I was). Your first step in becoming a fully fledged member of the RSS community is finding an RSS reader. I personally use Feedly. After picking and signing up with a reader, you’ll often be able to search for your desired site through the reader itself.

If searching for the website isn’t successful then there is another option. An older way, but still useful is to navigate to the desired site and look for the RRS logo. Clicking on it will take you to a new page which you should then copy the URL of and paste it into your RSS reader’s search bar.

Recommended News Aggregator (RSS Reader)

An advertisement by Freedly.

Feedly is my primary RSS reader and embarrassingly, one that I was using way before I knew what RSS was. Presenting information from the feeds you follow in a pleasing interface makes browsing the latest stories a breeze. Feedly also gives the ability to categorize and sort followed sites. If RSS interests you with its numerous productivity advantages, I strongly suggest Feedly.