Feed Yo’self

This post is either old news or life changing.  I feel like lots of (younger) folks were taught about RSS feeds in high school or college, but at the time it may not have been that interesting or meaningful so I wanted to revisit it for a moment.  RSS feeds are a great way to stay organized and updated with all of the websites you’re interested in.

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What the hell is RSS? RSS (Rich Site Summary) provides a convenient way for content publishers (us!) to distribute information in a standardized format.  RSS is basically a way for the reader (you!) to keep tabs on news sites, blogs or anyone else publishing in the abbreviated notification-oriented format, eliminating the need to revisit websites throughout the day and manually scan for new content.  Each day, instead of checking all the websites you’re interested in, you can scroll through your RSS feed.  The benefit of an RSS feed (also called RSS readers) is the aggregation of all content from multiple web sources in one place. You no longer have to visit different sites to obtain the latest information on your topics of interest. With RSS, summaries of content are delivered to you, and then you decide which articles you want to read by clicking a link.

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Personally, I love RSS readers because I have a habit of getting really busy (or procrastinating everything until the last minute), which means I stop reading all my favorite blogs for a few days weeks.  If I didn’t subscribe to an RSS reader, it is totally possible that I’d forget about some those great sites.  I don’t want to lose those gems, but I also don’t want to check them all every day. Instead I catch up with my RSS feed every saturday!  I drink cups of tea and read until my hearts content.  It’s a lovely little way to stay organized. Ain’t the internet great?  How do you subscribe?  Everyone handles this differently, but in most cases, you’re looking for a button on each site that reads “RSS” or an icon  that look like a wireless symbol tipped on its side (a dot with two curved lines stacked above, extending to the right).  You can see Live Seasoned’s RSS button on the top right corner of our page.  If you’re signing up for a blog reader (like Blog Lovin’) you can simply search for the blog name and follow it.

If you don’t subscribe to a reader yet, here are a few that I like or have heard good things about.

Feedly– is the most visible of the post–Google Reader free RSS services, with synchronized browser and mobile versions available today. It’s also arguably the prettiest RSS client, offering a minimalist look with clean fonts and hover-over pop-up views and view-based auto-adjusting columns (in a browser). The only oddity: you have to drop feeds into categories (that, or Feedly dumps everything into an “uncategorized” view), which may be an issue for RSS wonks who prefer their feeds un-nested. Feedly is also the most tweakable app in this lineup, letting you fiddle not only basic formatting, but also more esoteric reading aspects.

Digg Reader– Classic and simple.   There’s not much to it, but then there wasn’t much to Google Reader (with RSS, less really is more). You’ll find the typical sorting views at left (“all,” “popular,” “Diggs,” “saved”), just above your subscriptions, and the content’s given plenty of room to stretch out at right. Digg also supports keyboard shortcuts, lets you shift between “list” and “expanded” views, lets you create folders to aggregate feed types and supports sharing to Twitter or Facebook.

RSS Bot-If you’re looking for an unadorned, just-the-facts free RSS client that operates outside your browser, you don’t care about mobile sync and you’re running a Mac, consider RSS bot, a free app by FIPLAB that resides in OS X’s menu bar and displays unread feed counts and stories in a drop-down menu. You click the stuff you want to read, or mark what you don’t want to as read — no fuss, no muss.

BlogLovin– Is just what it sounds like. All your favorite blogs in one place.  You can search any blog and add them to your feed.  If you need new inspiration you can search for new blogs by categories or what’s trending at the moment.  You can also organize the blogs you follow by categories, which you create yourself!  If you’re a big blog reader than this is the perfect RSS feed for you.

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So whaddaya say?  Do you think an RSS or blog reader is right for you?  Are you an inconsistent (but wish you weren’t) blog reader? Do you think it is easy to catch up with friend happenings on your facebook news feed? Well this is a similar idea, but with blogs!  It has definitely helped me stay on top of all the sites I love, while feeling organized and knowing that I’m not missing a post.  If this sounds like something that would make your life easier then do it to it!

 

*I read some helpful information, which I used in this post, in an article by Matt Peckham.
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