rss and bloglines


Flickr photo riginally uploaded by alexmuse.

The main event of the web used to be “Browse”. Most don’t browse anymore. Now it’s “Search”. Soon (now for some) it will be “Subscribe”.

Steve at MicroPersusaion said RSS is “turning pro” after the announcement from Microsoft in June that they are building RSS into the next release of Internet Explorer. (the photo above was on the shoe of one of the Microsoft guys)

So people are always asking what RSS is. Just this week I tried to explain it to someone. I think I finally figured out a simple way to describe it (at least I hope this is simple):

RSS is like an email. When a webpage using RSS or blog is updated, it sends a RSS feed (think email) to subscribers. People with a RSS reader (like an email client) can read the messages.

Well, if that doesn’t work, try these instead:

Now that you understand what RSS is (chuckle), you should get yourself a RSS Reader. You could just use a RSS/email combo like RMail. It’ll send RSS feeds to your email. But I’ve never used it.

Instead I suggest a reader. You can get them built into your browser, a downloadable application, or a website. I’m going to plug my favorite, Bloglines.

You want something like bloglines because you’ve got a lot of blogs and websites you’re wanting to keep up with. But you just don’t have the time to get to them. After all, it’s a waste of time to check blogs just to find out they haven’t been updated.

Step 1
Go to Bloglines.com and sign up for a free account

Step 2
Click on the “My Feeds” tab. Here you see a list of the feeds (or blogs or websites) you’re subscribed to. Click on a feed and you’ll see the updates on the right.

Step 3
To add blogs you can click on the “add” link under the tabs and it’ll give you options for adding blog URLs.

Step 4 Optional
Download a notifier so you’ll know when your blogs are updated.

Step 5 Optional
Make it even easier to add blogs by adding a bookmarklet.

That’s it. Check your bloglines account when you’re ready and it’ll tell you if your favorite sites have been updated…and how many new posts are there!

I also use Bloglines to show you what I’m reading through my public showing of my Bloglines feeds.

Still confused? Sorry. Try this tutorial from betterdays. It has screenshots!

Oh, and if you’re on the go, Bloglines offers a mobile version for your phone.

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