RSS, an unexciting acronym for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication, will rock your world:
- pull all your web content into one location
- rapid notification of new information
- learn more
- spend less time surfing aimlessly
A growing number of organizations are using syndicated “feeds” to deliver news and other content; when you open your feed reader inbox, it will automatically visit each feed you are subscribed to and deliver any new headlines to your inbox. No more forgetting the web addresses of your favorite sites, visiting sites that haven’t been updated, or getting news sent to you from sources you haven’t requested. That means more and better information in less time. You’ll never want to go back to surfing the web manually again.
I’ve set up a sample account with the feed reader Newsgator. You can log in to that account to see what it’s like to use an RSS feed reader. Just enter username: “marshalldemo” and password: “welcome”. I’ve seeded it with feeds from a variety of news sources.
One of the most powerful applications of RSS is called persistent search — subscribing to the RSS feed of a particular search engine’s results for your search terms. This will allow your feed reader to check every time you login for new search results, deliver them to your inbox as soon as they are available, and otherwise sit quietly waiting until new results become available. It’s a great way to stay up-to-the-moment about your issues of interest, without performing searches manually.
Feeds can also be syndicated onto your website. You can have headlines from somewhere else appear automatically as they become available. This could include press releases, search results, news stories or much more.
Setting up a good suite of feeds can transform inefficient, slow and frustrating research into a powerfully different experience. I believe the best way to be a publicly visible knowledge worker today is to use RSS to pull in emerging information about your field, then use Social Bookmarking to archive the key items that come through the feeds and then use that archived and emerging information to blog about your subject of interest.
I can help you set up, learn to use and optimize all of those tools.
NTEN helps nonprofits learn to use the web effectively.