How I Use RSS To Make My Life Easier

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

Image of Conversations in the blogspherI 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

Image of Comment ConversationsOne 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 Image of using Flickr in RSSwhole 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

As Rafa Ribas said about my previous post on RSS:

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.

Image of RSS iconI’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.

FINAL THOUGHT

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!

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42 thoughts on “How I Use RSS To Make My Life Easier

  1. Hi Sue,

    Your articles on RSS are really interesting, i am currently working on a Emerging technology trial that is looking at RSS feeds and wikis to create a delivery, assesment and reporting cycle within our organisation.
    I am using google lifestream and wikispaces.
    I have looked at Yahoo Pipes but need to spend more time on it, i would love to give you permissions to look at my reporting wiki and can offer any advice, my struggle is getting the trainers to take the time to explore the options and not just do what i tell them too.

    Cheers,
    Sarah

    1. Hi Sarah, often challenging to get others to make the time to start exploring themselves. Depending at where they are in their journey using technology can be overwhelming for them. Sure happy to look at your wiki – just send through the link.

  2. I’m trying to set up a feed for my blog (librarymusings) so that viewers can subscribe, but I’m going in circles. I’ve been places where they tell me I can get the orange “chiclet” but I can’t get it to show up on my page. When I try to set up an RSS feed on the widgets page, I’m evidently putting in the wrong address. I’m putting in http://feeds.feedburner.com. I’ve gone to Google and set up a gmail account as librarymusings, but I’m stuck. Any tips on where I should start? Thanks.

  3. @Suz It definitely took me a long time to understand the power of RSS and is probably one of the most important skills we can give others. Your Redback Project looks really good — please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

    Don’t forget to suggest they check out the manuals on using Edublogs.

  4. I have to say it took me a while to find my feet with RSS… I had used the one in IE… but rarely went back to look at it…since using my google reader I have found a new lease on using RSS and feeling really empowered with it.
    Yeah I know there are other RSS aggregators out there… but with so many accounts for this that and the other it’s nice just to have things all linked and in one place…. or, it becomes useless as I will forget to look at it, where I am on my igoogle space at least once a day.
    I will be sending my staff along this way next week, as we launch into RSS with the Redback Project.

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