WTF is RSS?
Click the to watch the screen cast
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary or even Rocking’ Sexy Sirens – it doesn’t really matter what the acronym means – it’s what it can do for you that counts.
RSS enables you to pull in all the information you’ll ever need without having to remember to go out and get it.
How it works
If you have a website built by me in Wordpress – you’re already using RSS. Every time you publish a new blog post, your website sends it out to anybody who has subscribed to your feed.
In order to read the feed – you need an RSS reader. Which one you use generally depends upon which email client you favor; I handle everything through Gmail and therefore use Google’s free Google Reader, but there are plenty of other free tools that will hook into Mac mail or Outlook – you just need to Google them.
Subscribing to an RSS feed is super easy, you’re looking for the little orange icon that you’ll often find on the blog page of a website – if you’re using a modern browser like Chrome – you can actually subscribe from the URL bar.
Let’s say I want to research mobile payment processes – I Google the search term, find the top blogs, go to their sites and quickly subscribe to their feeds. I make sure I set up a new category in my reader – and now I don’t need to remember to go to the site again – whenever they publish new information it appears directly in my reader.
Right now I’m subscribed to over 100 different channels and yes it’s kind of like a fire hose, however, I don’t read everything that is pumped out. Here’s how I handle my feeds:
First off, I categorize everything; here you can see that I’m pretty interested in Music and Marketing. Each folder might have 10 or so different blog feeds and not all of them publish at the same time – so – I generally look at the top level folder view.
Every morning I scan my feeds – I don’t read everything I just graze the titles for what might interest me. When something stands out, I can open the item and read the article in my reader without having to go anywhere. If the article resonates, I can forward it to myself or to someone else, I can curate it or share it.
Best thing about RSS is that you can handle it on your smart phone too – there are plenty of free RSS readers for iPhone, Android and Blackberry; I use RSS+ for the iPhone but there are always new apps being developed.
If I’m out and having to wait somewhere, having a mobile RSS reader is a great way to catch up on my feeds.
Yes you can suffer from too much information – every 6 months I cull my feeds and start from scratch again – it keeps the information fresh and stops me suffering from unread feed anxiety.
If you’d like to learn more about using RSS to manage your information flow, reply to this email and book a session.