Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Real Simple




RSS or Really Simple Syndication is an important tool. Though it is simple, ubiquitous and older than dirt (in internet time), I’ll bet there are a lot of people who don’t get it (It took me a while). I’d like to describe how to use RSS as a heretic. If you already know the deal, I’ll catch you next week.

If you want to act on your heretical ideas, you will need the help of a community of people who champion your cause. You can begin to build that community online by sharing other people’s ideas. Other people’s ideas are spelled out in blogs. If you find the handful of bloggers who really speak to your vision, are you going to scour their sites for updates every day? Imagine if you could meet your favorite bloggers for coffee every morning. That is what RSS is for. It provides you with updates from websites and blogs as they are posted.

Here’s how it works. Blogs have a functionality called subscribe. Here subscriptions refers to the ability for a reader to get updates via a feed. The feed is a file with the latest version of the blog. The updates are sent to you  via an RSS Reader application. I recommend Google Reader. You read the updates just like your email. You can even get a smart phone app that connects to your reader. I use Byline. This process is called Syndication.

Here are your steps to get started:
  • Create an account on Google Reader
  • Download and setup an RSS App for your smart phone or tablet that supports Google Reader.
  • Go to your social media tool of choice (this will probably work best with Twitter)
  • Read the posts of the top 5 people you admire and follow their links to blog posts.
  • Find the top 5 blogs that you like and find the subscribe option  (If you can’t find it may be in your browser’s toolbar).
  • Follow the directions to subscribe to the feed for that blog using Google Reader.
  • Set aside time to read Google Reader. Don’t try to read everything. Remove the feeds you lose interest in or that haven’t had recent updates.
  • Share articles of interest to you with your community on your social media tool of choice.


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