So I’ve tried my best to explain what is RSS and why it’s important to learn how to use. And as I said I find it hard to explain probably because the power of RSS is really something you need to experience first hand.
I’m really into RSS — a RSS power user may be an appropriate title since I grab every RSS opportunity to make my life easier and maximise my ability to interact effectively with others.
Remember I’m using RSS as a simple and effective way of keeping in touch when new information is added to a website without having to visit the site; instead information is brought to one location, my feed reader, for me to read at my convenience.
So let me show you some of ways I use RSS with my Google Reader.
Subscribing To Blogs
I read a lot of blogs by subscribing to their RSS feeds because blogging isn’t about working in a vacuum; it’s about the conversations.
Conversations aren’t about you just writing a reflective post that invites / encourages / evokes readers to express their opinion by writing comments on your post. It’s also about you engaging in conversations on others’ blogs by linking to their posts and writing comments on their posts.
To engage effectively in blogging conversations you need to subscribe to blogs that interest you. If you aren’t already subscribe to educational blogs — why not use this list of blogs or the blogroll on my personal blog (on the bottom right hand side) as a starting point.
Effectively Managing Comments
One of my most important tips for keeping up the conversations on blogs is being very effective at managing your comments on other people’s blogs. I’m really good at this because I use tools that track my comments posted on other people’s blogs plus subscribe to the RSS feed from these tools.
Whenever a person comments on a post that I have commented on, their comment is transferred from the post into my Google Reader, so I can choose to immediately respond back if I want.
Currently I use two comment tracking tools — co.mment and cocomment. The RSS feed from co.mment is better than cocomment however cocomment is better for community building. Here’s my explanation on how to set up and use co.mment. You can check out my comment tracking account’s here — on co.mment and at cocomment.
Managing Interactions on Flickr
Flickr is really cool Web 2.0 tool that didn’t initially grab me because I didn’t get the whole idea of sharing photos online and it’s whole social networking aspect.
Now I’ve made Flickr friends and comment on their photos; my friends newest photos and any comments I make are automatically feed from Flickr to my Google Reader (here are my instructions of how I do it).
This interaction has shown me a different glimpse of their life compared to what I see from reading their blogs or following them on twitter.
RSS is More Than Blog Posts
There is more to RSS than just blog posts. You can RSS news, comments to your posts or others, audio and video, comic strips (I am an absolute fan of xkcd.com), other people’s bookmarks (del.icio.us), and so on and so forth. In summary, RSS is a bit daunting at first, but absolutely amazing in its potential.
I’ve only given a small glimpse into the ways I harness the power of RSS. Remember to look out for the RSS icon whenever you visit a web site and consider if subscribing to it’s feed will make your life easier and/or more fun.
So have you set up a feed reader yet? If you’re just getting going – please let us know what’s working for you and what’s not.
If you are experienced with using RSS how about telling us about the different RSS feeds besides blog posts that you subscribe to, and why you like subscribing to them.
If you are enjoying reading this blog, please consider Subscribing For Free!