What is RSS?

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In a perfect world, updates from all your favorite news websites and blogs would appear instantly in one place, ready for you to access. You wouldn't have to hunt. It would be like getting your meals delivered from the best restaurants in town, everyday.

I've often wished for just such a service. And then I found it…right under my nose. It's called an RSS reader, and you've probably seen the little orange squares that signal its feeds everywhere. feed-icon-14x14.png

I'd like to take away some of the mystery from RSS (which stands for Really Simple Syndication) and get you to try it out! You'll wonder how you lived without it.

Here's a brief summary of how it works: most news, opinion, and blog websites generate constantly updating "feeds" of all their latest content. An RSS reader tracks your favorite feeds and delivers them to you in one location. Think of it as an email inbox filled with your very own, personalized web content. Just imagine…no more checking the same websites day in and day out to see if anything new has popped up. And you'll never miss a thing.

For example, in my RSS reader, I am tracking the New York Times's Most Emailed Stories, my best friend's blog, the comments my students post on our course website, and— of course —UMass EGO website. As soon as a student posts a comment or another story moves into the NY Times's most emailed list, it appears in my reader, complete with a description (and sometimes the full text), a link, and an option to share by email.

Click the little orange buttons on the UMass EGO website to receive updates directly to your reader.

Although there are many RSS readers available, I use Google Reader because it is straightforward and requires no download. All you need to do is create a free Google account (with which you will also be able to use Google's email, photo, calendar, and other services).

Once you have set up your reader, you can start adding "subscriptions" to your favorite websites by clicking on the site's RSS link (that orange button again). Or you can add the site's URL directly in your reader.

That's it! Turns out, RSS really is Really Simple.

EGO Feeds
feed-icon-14x14.png Blog
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feed-icon-14x14.png News and Events!

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