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There’s the easy way or the hard way. RSS makes your life easy but for people new to RSS it’s easy to overlook it’s importance. And educating, those new to the concept of RSS, how to use it effectively should be a priority.

What is RSS

Image of RSS iconSpend any time on the Internet, and you will see the word RSS or the orange icon normally used to indicate a site has RSS feed. RSS is an acronym which stands for Really Simple Syndication.

In simple terms RSS is a simple and effective way of keeping in touch when new information is added to a website without having to visit the site.

Check out RSS in Plain English for an excellent explanation of how RSS saves you time.

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Forget about bookmarking sites in your web browser, email updates or visiting your favourite sites — these all take time and time is precious. Read What is RSS and why you should use it? An introduction for newbies for a more detail explanation of why these practices are more time consuming. Using RSS is way more time effective; simply subscribe to the RSS feed from a web site using a Feed Reader.

Subscribing to RSS Using A Feed Reader

A feed reader or RSS reader is able to take the RSS feed from a site and present in a readable form for the user. Google Reader, Bloglines and NetVibes are all examples of feed readers. Instead of visiting numerous sites the RSS feeds from these sites comes to one location — your feed reader, where you read the information.

I, like many, prefer to use Google Reader. Check out this 5 min video or download this “How To” guide to learn how to set up and use Google Reader.

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Final Thought

I always find explaining why it’s important to use RSS hard, probably because it really is something you need to experience first hand. If you’re not currently using a feed reader now’s the time to learn. You could use this list of top Edubloggers to find some blogs you would like to subscribe to.

Please let me know how you go 🙂 or if you an experienced RSS user is there more information you think I should add?

And off course don’t forget to subscribe to the Edublogger RSS feed Subscribing For Free!

About Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

41 Comments

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  19. sue Water

    I adore you. You are really marvellous. Thanks alot 🙂 .

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  21. i’ve been curious about RSS feeds/feeders for at least 2 years, but never took the time to really understand what they were and why it might matter to me. your post was just what i needed to move me forward. within minutes. thanks a lot!

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  29. Ok, so following your advice I know have Greader embedded on igoogle. That’s better, now I don’t have to go somewhere to see the list I never got to … I’ve RSS’d to my fav blogs now instead of receiving emails (your blog is on my igoogle as some blogs offer this preferance). I read something about cocomment (probably via your blog) so am off to check that out! Thanks! I consider myself a lagging behind learner but realise I have learnt heaps.

  30. @Marie I think with the Feed reader it is how you use it. I have iGoogle as my default home page and Greader embedded in it. So as soon as I open up the Internet I read through all the posts. Big time saver compared to email. You also are in my RSS reader (did you know there are two blogs I subscribe to called Learning Curve?). I take my RSS from co.mment and add to Google reader and know when new comments are posted. Really good.

    @Your Librarian good luck with adding RSS to your blog. Look NetVibes is good and lots of people use it. It just would cope with my number of blog subscriptions.

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  33. I too am with Rafa. I started with Google Reader but then switched over to Netvibes. It’s such a friendly, visually appealing way to go. I’m pushing Netvibes here at ASB.

    Now though, I’m having troule adding little feed icon to my own blogs. Luckily though you give such good directions I shouldn’t have any trouble. I think it’s going to be trick because I added a theme that doesn’t have any sidebars.

    I’ll keep trying…Thanks for all your posts. I’m feeding off you Sue!

    Ann

    • Your Librarian
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  35. Thanks again. Now I’m tracking comments to your page. I read somewhere (another post?) re co.mments … I’ve looked at it and don’t get it. Can’t see that it is any better than tracking comments in RSS.

  36. Thanks for your coverage Sue. Although I subscribe to RSS, I am guilty of not getting there as often as I should. Therefore I use emails for updates on blogs etc … because I do read my emails every day. I need to maybe take a relook at how I am reading, because I do have to click on the link in my email to connect and yes time is so precious with so much to read maybe I’d be better off with the reader.

    Love your posts and should read them more. Yes I have RSS’d you!

    Marie

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  39. I’ve got to laugh Rafa I spend a lot of time trying to convince people to come across from NetVibes to Google Reader & your thinking of going the opposite direction. I also access my GReader through my iGoogle page. You know that you can share iGoogle Tabs with your students?

    Totally agree with what you are saying regarding RSS being more than blog posts and I had planned to talk about this. Trouble is you have to balance up the length of your posts — mine are often too long. So I was already in the process of writing the follow up post to give examples of exactly what you were talking about. Which was excellent because I inserted your quote into the post plus linked to your blog.

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  41. I use Google Reader, together with an iGoogle page, although I have recently discovered Netvibes and might consider moving there, especially for the “public” side of it to use with my classroom.
    I think it is interesting to tell newcomers that 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. It is my plan for next year to teach my students to use RSS properly to handle information.

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