September 11, 2009

What is RSS?

You've got RSS, XML, and Atom out there and you're probably wondering what it all means. This are all types of feeds. Feeds are a way for websites large and small to distribute their content well beyond just visitors using browsers.

Feeds permit subscription to regular updates, delivered automatically via a web portal, news reader, or in some cases good old email. Feeds also make it possible for site content to be packaged into "widgets," "gadgets," mobile devices, and other bite-sized technologies that make it possible to display blogs, podcasts, and major news/sports/weather/whatever headlines just about anywhere.

You may recognize the universal feed icon or these "chicklets" from your favorite websites, blogs, and podcasts. These icons represent content in any format - text, audio or video - to which you can subscribe and read/watch/listen using a feed reader. What's that?

Who publishes feeds?

Any online publishers i.e. news media, bloggers, podcasters, and/or videobloggers publish feeds to keep themselves better connected to their readers, listeners, admirers, and critics.

How do I read feeds?

If you want to browse and subscribe to feeds, you have many choices. Today, there are more than 2,000 different feed reading applications, also known as "news aggregators" (for text, mostly) or "podcatchers" (for podcasts). There are even readers that work exclusively on mobile devices.

How can I publish my own feeds?

If you have a website, blog, audio/video content, or even photos, you can offer a feed of your content as an option. If you are using a popular blogging platform or publishing tool like TypePad, Wordpress, or Blogger, you likely publish a feed automatically. Even other non-blogging sites like social photo-sharing service Flickr offer feeds of content you produce that others can retrieve. There are also tools on the market that can help transform traditional web content into the right format for distribution.

FeedBurner's services allow publishers who already have a feed to improve their understanding of and relationship with their audience. Once you have a working feed, run it through FeedBurner and realize a whole new set of benefits.

Check out the RSS Blog for more information and a listing of RSS resources.....But before you go don't forget to subscribe to Inconsequential Logic by clicking the link.

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