What is RSS (and why should I care?)
What it is: RSS (or an ‘RSS News Feed’) is the easiest way for you to keep in touch with the web sites you care about. This free service allows you to receive information about the latest news and other updates on websites — including blogs — within moments after they occur.
The benefit: If you are like most Internet users, you visit a number of websites on a regular basis in order to find news and updates. RSS News Feeds conveniently enable you to receive update alerts from any and all websites in one place: a so-called ‘News Reader’ of ‘RSS News Reader.’ This reader is already included in many email programs, such as Eudora, Outlook, and Thunderbird, as well as in most current web browsers.
It is faster and easier to scan multiple RSS news headlines in one place (pretty much the same way you scan your email inbox) than it is to visit site after site in search of the latest information.
Some RSS News Feeds provide headlines only. Some provide headlines plus brief excerpts. Other provide the entire article (so you won’t even have to visit the website that publishes it). Some websites allow you to choose between ‘full articles’ or ‘headlines only’ feeds. Either way, RSS – which actually stands for Really Simply Syndication (distribution) – is a fantastic time saver.
What is a News Reader? (Or: Sounds good! How do I use it?)
You ‘subscribe’ (free of charge) to an RSS News Feed with the News Reader program of your choice.
‘News Readers’ are especially designed to display the information contained in RSS News Feeds in an easy-to-use format. They come in at least four flavors:
Web-based RSS news feed services such as Bloglines, Google Reader or My Yahoo! are very popular. There’s nothing to download or install. Just sign on, sign in, and
If you use the latest versions of Firefox or Internet Explorer you can read news feeds right in your browser (Firefox instructions | Internet Explorer instructions)
- Included In Email Program
Email programs like Eudora, Opera Mail, Outlook 2007, and Thunderbird include options to subscribe to RSS News Feeds.
- Stand Alone
A separate program, such as SharpReader or NetNewsWire (MAC)
When you click on the image an RSS News Feed page opens. Your browser may present you with various subscription options, but you can also copy and paste the URL (from the address bar) into the subscription feature of whichever news reader you have selected.
Some websites conveniently offer pre-programmed subscription buttons for specific, web-based news readers. For example, these buttons will subscribe you to our main Religion News Blog RSS news feed using Google Reader or My Yahoo! respectively:
Religion News Blog’s RSS News Feeds
Religion News Blog has many RSS News Feeds. If you subscribe to our main feed, you get the headlines of all articles we post. However, if you are only interested in specific topics, you can opt to subscribe to the RSS News Feeds for those topics only. These options can be selected from among the Article Tools at the bottom of each article. (The headlines via email option also listed is for all headlines only):
When you click the news feed link, the address in your browser bar will look like this (We use the ‘Religion Trends’ feed as an example):
Use that address to subscribe to the feed in your news reader of choice.
I Know What I Am Doing. Let Me Click Some RSS Buttons!
These buttons link to Religion News Blog’s main feed (all headlines of all RNB topics):