Why you should be using RSS

9 Apr

Since I’m about to let a bunch of people know about my blog, I thought I’d help out anyone who might not be using RSS. You really should be using RSS. If you don’t believe me, check out the video below; I have no idea who that guy is, but he’s right (well, at least about RSS). Here it is in a nutshell. Instead of going out to a bunch of web sites for news, information, etc., let your RSS reader do that for you and compile a list of new articles in one place that you can scan through and read only the articles that interest you. It will save you a lot of time – even if you only read one news or blog site.

Take this blog for instance. You’d be crazy to keep coming back here to see if there’s new content that interests you. Just add the RSS feed (it’s at the bottom of the page and says Entries (RSS) ) to your RSS reader and it will let you know when a new article is posted, and if the title interests you, check it out, otherwise, ignore it.

I have a favor to ask of those who are reading this and are already using RSS. Post a comment with the name of the RSS reader you’re using, and if you have any links to helpful RSS tutorials, post them too. If you’re not using RSS, you may want to check back in a few days and read the comments. You could add the comments for this article to your RSS reader so you’ll be automatically notified when a new comment is posted, but that’s a bit of a catch-22 🙂

UPDATE: definitely check out Eric Holter’s article on RSS in the comments below.

UPDATE 2: since this article was posted (and for quite some time now), I’ve been using Google Reader. It’s easy to use – all you need is a web browser.

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10 Responses to “Why you should be using RSS”

  1. Brian Adkins April 9, 2007 at 11:23 am #

    I use Thunderbird for my email client and it has an RSS reader built-in. You just need to add a new account and specify RSS for the account type. Probably the best way to get started with RSS is to simply have someone who knows about it help you – if you choose the right type of geek and simply ask them, “what’s this RSS thing I heard about”, they’ll do the rest :). I’ll be posting another comment later with links to RSS info, and hopefully some others will do likewise.

  2. Scott Moonen April 9, 2007 at 12:20 pm #

    I’ve experimented with a few readers and found two that I liked. I tried Bloglines and also the Firefox Sage plugin, but didn’t like them (I can’t remember now, but I think they weren’t flexible enough for what I wanted to do with them).

    For awihle I used the program RSSOwl. I have no complaints about RSSOwl; I like it a lot.

    I’m currently using Google’s online Reader. I like the fact that I can read my feeds on any computer, although to be honest it’s rare that I actually take advantage of this. The Reader interface is very clean and comfortable.

  3. Scott Moonen April 9, 2007 at 12:33 pm #

    Other random comments:

    Consider using WordPress’s URL rewriting options. It requires a simple RewriteRule in your .htaccess and WordPress does the rest. It’s under Options|Permalinks.

    If you haven’t already, you should enable the Akismet plugin and get an Akismet API code from wordpress.com (there is an API code associated with any wordpress.com account). It is wonderfully helpful for weeding out spam; I rarely have to moderate anything on my own WordPress blogs.

    I don’t know what WordPress version you’re using, but the 2.1 family seems to have better spam controls. This may be a false impression, but I think that the number of spam trackbacks that reached my eyes dropped considerably after upgrading to the 2.1 family. My suspicion is that in the 2.0 family trackbacks aren’t sent through Akismet.

    I also recommend the Google Analyticator plugin. Rather than editing your template, you can install this plugin and have it add Google Analytics code to all of your pages. Handy.

    The Live Comment Preview plugin is also handy and nifty. Your commenters will see a live (JavaScript) preview of their comments immediately below the text box.

    Lastly, I also use Ultimate Tag Warrior to manage tags. A couple of caveats: if you are using URL rewriting, you should probably re-save the rewriting preferences each time you upgrade WordPress; I’ve found that if I don’t do this some of the tag URLs break after an upgrade. Also, there is a bug with UTW in WordPress version 2.1 and above; fix here.

  4. Brian Adkins April 9, 2007 at 12:38 pm #

    Thanks for the tips – I’ll check out the links. I may turn off moderation once I gain confidence in Akismet.

  5. Eric Holter April 9, 2007 at 2:35 pm #

    Hi Brian. I just subscribed to your feed.

    Here’s an article I wrote about RSS awhile back for Newfangled.

    RSS: When the Web Comes to You – http://www.newfangled.com/rss_overview

    Eric Holter
    CEO – Newfangled Web Factory
    http://www.newfangled.com

  6. Brian Adkins April 9, 2007 at 2:55 pm #

    Luke E. and Chris C. let me know that they use Google Reader for RSS. Chris said, “I have it integrated into my gmail. If it wasn’t integrated, I probably wouldn’t use it.”

  7. Brian Adkins April 9, 2007 at 3:30 pm #

    Eric: thanks for the link. By thy way, akismet flagged your comment as spam, but I “despammed” it, so maybe it will learn.

  8. Brian Adkins April 10, 2007 at 10:55 pm #

    I finally got fed up with Thunderbird’s RSS reader – when I tried grouping feeds into groups it broke everything. I installed Liferea Feed Reader on my Ubuntu 6.10 Linux system, and it works like a charm. It crashed once, but it works really nicely. I don’t have a lot to compare it to, but I recommend it.

    http://liferea.sourceforge.net/

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. lojic.com » Blog Archive » del.icio.us - April 10, 2007

    […] feature is quite useful. It allows you to add an RSS feed of your friend’s bookmarks to an RSS reader, so you can be notified of new bookmarks your friend has recently added. Usefulness depends on the […]

  2. Adkins Family Blog» Blog Archive » Adkins Family Blog Created - November 29, 2008

    […] you don’t currently use RSS, you may want to review “Why You Should Be Using RSS” – it’s a great way to keep up with web sites & blogs without having to continually check […]

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