It has come to my attention that what I thought was common knowledge really isn’t. Many people, savvy as they are, still don’t know how wonderful RSS feeds are. The RSS feed can streamline your efficiency when reading at the computer & staying in the know. So while I am without a camera this week, I am going to tackle a (somewhat boring) but extremely useful topic, if you can hang in there with me. I’ll try to make it as simple as possible. If you don’t really care & just want an easier way to view my blog, click “subscribe” above & you can get my posts sent to your email address!
WHAT, you ask, is RSS? Here it is in a nutshell. (& that is the universal symbol up there in pink) RSS stands for “really simple syndication.” RSS (often called a “feed”) is kind of like a radio airwave. An RSS feed takes content from one source (news, blog entries etc) & sends it all over the place. Every online source that has a constant stream of new information has an RSS feed. Blogs have an RSS feed. News websites have an RSS feed. Facebook Fan Pages even have feeds. You can have that RSS feed sent directly to you, instead of having to go to the blog/source for content. So, just like you have to have a radio to receive syndication, you have to have a program/application to manage your feeds.
HOW? So, you want to RSS feed your favorite blogs, but you need a place to read content. Google Reader is a very popular place to manage your RSS feeds. So, much like your radio, your Google Reader gathers all the feeds that are broadcast, and allows you to move channel to channel (or blog to blog) in one location. Here is the really great part–each new piece of content (like a new blog post) stays in your reader until you actually read it. It shows up like a new email. Therefore, you can catch up on all your information in ONE PLACE, when it is convenient to you. Buh-bye blog hopping. Unless of course, you still want to see the pretty blog background & images there. & have hours & hours to kill.
MORE? There are all kinds of programs like Google Reader. There is Feedly, which I have heard great things about. It reads kind of like a magazine, from what I understand. There is also an iPhone app called NetNewsWire that takes all your Google Reader feeds & puts them in one place on your iPhone. But I like to keep it simple. Really simple. Any of you use Apple Mail for your gmail account (or hotmail, etc?)? I use it & love it. I add all my RSS feeds there. Follow along for a Google Reader & Apple Mail RSS feed mini-tutorial.
I think a whole different post needs to tackle the awesomeness of Apple Mail which is similar to MS Outlook for those of you PC users.
- I do not use Google Reader, but this is what my my neglected reader looks like. I added a couple of feeds, just so you can get the idea. You can find them on the bottom left, filed under “Shawna’s Daily Reads.”
- It looks just like gmail–anything in parentheses indicates it is not yet read.
- The feed highlighted (the styleberryPHOTO Facebook wall) is what is displayed on the right. Every entry that is on the wall is in order, newest to oldest. It works exactly the same way with blog feeds.
- Right under the google logo you can “add a subscription” and search a keyword for any blogs you love. Then you add your favorite places to your “daily reads” and you are all set.
The reason this is so wonderful, is that you can get all your blog posts/news feeds in ONE PLACE. You will never miss a thing ever again. :D
APPLE MAIL RSS
Now, as I said, I do not use Google Reader. I like to streamline my life even further & only go to one application for all of my communication every day–one that manages all my email accounts & my RSS feeds. I am just crazy efficient like that. I blurred out some of my personal feeds to protect my friends & family who have blogs I read. Many of my friends have gone to password protected feeds & those cannot be RSS fed. Any of you have a way around that? So here is how to use RSS + Apple Mail. Apple, as expected, makes it ridiculously easy.
When you are browsing the web, you will see the RSS icon in the toolbar, it’s to the left of the blue star. Click that.
After you click the RSS icon, this box will appear. Click “add.”
Now your feeds will show up in your Apple Mailbox. Some of mine can be seen on the left. You can read them just like emails.
Is this helpful? Do you like posts like this or do you already know all this stuff?