Ok guys, some of you may read this and totally crack up and know how clueless I am when it comes to this stuff. But Paul Chaney, my super Project Blogger coach, was gracious enough to try to explain the concept of RSS to basic principles. All I want to know is...... Is there an "RSS for idiots" in the bookstores yet? because if there isn't, that may be a good money maker.
I do encourage everyone to jump in and correct me or explain further if you feel the need. Also, keep in mind that this is my interpretation of Paul's lesson, so please forgive me if I butchered the coaching session. A lot of us just started blogging away and did not realize that there are key ingredients in a blog and to assume that our blog platform takes care of it is not good enough.
So what's RSS? It's a Notification System, here's the Wikipedia definition (personally, that one goes right over my head). RSS(stands for Really Simple Syndication) is a distribution mechanism for getting your blog content into the hands of those who want it without them having to go into your blog every single time. Every blog should include an RSS feed where readers and consumers can subscribe to it (they will copy and paste the URL into their reader). When you go into a blog, you will find one of these "thingy-ma-doodles" (I guess they are called ICONS) where you can right click, copy and paste into your reader. P.S. go check out The Tomatos'sRSS icon (he made it look like a tomato...is that cool or what?)
My big question was where is the RSS READER??? Where do you copy that URL to? The answer is very simple. There are several services that you can sign up to. That way all you have to do is very similar to checking your e-mail, go into that service and check out all the new content from everything you have subscribed to. Paul suggested www.bloglines.com , it's easy to use and he finds it user friendly and effective. It's a web based reader, all you have to do is register, and you can even create categories. You'll be able to keep up with trends and the latest news very easily; blogs will come to you instead of you having to find each one.
To go one step further - you NEED to subscribe to www.FEEDBURNER.com, in Paul's words "it is like a clearing house for all RSS feeds" - you register your feed, it gives you buttons for your site, the RSS feed will be tied to feedburner and you'll know how many people subscribe to your feed.
If you want to play around with subscriptions, go into news.google.com or cnn.com and you will be able to subscribe to their RSS feed based on keywords - it could be industry news - weather, etc.
What is the value to RSS? - you don't have to visit each blog, you can go to one place to get the latest news, stay current and fresh and from a publisher's standpoint, you don't have to deal with a Spam Filter or Firewall by subscribing via e-mail.
So there you have it - RSS from a non-geek perspective. How did I do Paul?
**Please follow this link to read Paul Chaney's post on the same subject with a lot more insite: Project Blogger: RSS Explained by a Pseudo Geek **