RSS Feeds What They Really Are

With all the talk about RSS feed lists and popular RSS feeds and “on demand” news services, it can be helpful to know the terminology. So exactly what is a RSS feed?

“RSS” has come to mean “Really Simple Syndication”. It is a method to distribute content en masse, allowing readers to define the parameters of the updates they receive. The coding involved is minimal, and the actual amount of information sent to you as a notification is quite small, often just a headline and either a quick summary or just the first few lines of an article.

But that may be too technical a description. What is a RSS feed in terms of relevant content? A RSS feed is freedom from reading news you could care less about, and the means to focus on the stories that truly catch your attention, not because of some catchy headline but because you are already genuinely interested in the subject matter. A RSS is a way to focus your attention and stay abreast of the stories that matter to you.

And what is a RSS feed as pertains to your productivity? Using a RSS feed means the news comes to you, rather than you going to it. For instance, the Wall Street Journal blog RSS feed can be set to notify you whenever there is a new entry posted, or even when a new post contains specific keywords determined by you. Or a Fox News live feed can be set to notify you whenever there is breaking news about a particular topic. Or, rather than notifications, you can set a RSS feed to collect relevant stories that you can manually peruse at your leisure, so your productivity flow is uninterrupted when you need to buckle down and work.

The ultimate question is, what is a RSS feed to you? Think about how you read news, why you read news, and when you read news. Can any of the features of a RSS feed benefit you? Most feeds are simple to set up and maintain, as user friendliness is at the very core of the RSS feed concept. So if the only thing standing between you and a RSS feed is a learning curve, rest assured that you can master the RSS feed list in no time, and start getting your news on your terms.