Sunday, June 25, 2006

Basics of Blogging Series: Part Nine - RSS Mania Addiction An Introduction To RSS and the Terminology

Before beginning this next series of posts, I will say that they I have already published them on the net over at They are a series of posts devoted to RSS feeds and their creation. I am going to however, present them here in a different order and format to fit in with our Blogging Series. The first couple of these articles need no changes. What needs to be understood is that RSS in blogs is a fairly automated process these days. Blogger does it automatically. So do most of the other Blogging sites and software. feedblitz does it as well. BUT, you still ask ... What the hell is RSS? Therefore we are going to explain it in depth so you can get a grasp on this possibility.

Will RSS help you? Maybe, then again maybe not. It depends if the readers of your blog want an RSS feed of your blog, if they are "into" RSS and if they truly understand how to use it. These are all big "ifs". A few articles down the road you will be able to read "Debunking A Few RSS Myths" which I wrote awhile back. Interesting to note, despite the all the "noise" about RSS, the article on Debunking is my most read, most publicized, most commented article on the net out of over 50+ articles. So keep that in mind when looking at RSS. Yet, no series of articles on Blogging would be complete or legitimate without a detailed explanation of RSS.

RSSNot to long ago I finally decided to check out what all those little orange buttons that said “RSS” or “XML” were about. It seemed to me that either my vision was permanently impaired or every web-site I visited suddenly spouted an RSS tag, and that proudly. I wanted to know just what those ubiquitous orange buttons meant and how they operated. Not only that but they were multiplying in different permutations faster than rabbits. Every different major engine seemed to have its own RSS Feed. As an example:

If you think this confuses you, above is just a FEW of the buttons, and anyone can create their own buttons for free on the Net. There are numerous sites which will create your own button for you, according to the text and color scheme you choose - all for free! FeedForAll is just one of them. RSS is definitely the rage.

Well, in a few days I was an RSS freak. Obsessed. Totally grounded in RSS mania and those little news items coming across my reader. Of course, I had a reader for my desktop, and a reader that conveniently placed itself within my Firefox Browser. I was RSS ready for anything! And you know what. BEST OF ALL its almost ALL FREE. (If it isn’t it does not find a place on my computer!)

For those among the plebeians of the world who are not familiar with RSS and what you can do with it, this article will attempt to explain the basics in RSS terminology and how you can become as obsessed with RSS as I am. In a future article I will attempt to explain how to create your own RSS feed as well.

RSS Feed – The information that a web site will place within the RSS file for you to read is known as a “feed”. RSS Reader – The software you use, either browser based or desktop based that you use to pick up the feed and read it.

1. RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” or so they tell us. Well so we don’t get too complicated, RSS has gone through a few permutations based upon its versions and maturing.

  • Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91)

  • RDF Site Summary (RSS 0.9 and 1.0)

  • Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0.0)

  • Atom Feeds

Most RSS feeds today are of the 2.0 permutation. And actually all RSS and its permutations are based upon “push technology” which began to be seriously developed a few years ago.

2. RSS is based on XML (Extensible Markup Language) which is actually become incredibly popular in the development of web pages and the like. (For now we will not enter too many technicalities in programming)

3. PodCasting – is a derivation of RSS where audio is pushed to the computer instead of just text.

4. VodCasting - is a derivation of RSS where video is pushed to the computer instead of just text.

5. There are also PictureCasting, screencasting... and I guess you are getting the picture.

6. Atom Feeds – This basically is a new syndication to replace RSS format. Whether or not it will work is up to the developers and users.

7. Blogs, (a term which originally came from “weblog”) which has been all the rage in the internet lately, make extensive use of RSS feeds, pushing the information contained in the millions of weblogs out to users.

So what is so great about RSS? It simply is a way of those who have content, say a newspaper, where news changes and is updated on an hourly or daily basis, to push this news to users all over the world without them logging into the web site. The user has an “RSS Reader” (many different types are available – future article) and this news is updated automatically in the Reader on a schedule the user chooses. Thus one can be working without the need to constantly check a news web site, and still keep abreast of any news that is happening “out in the big world”.

Readers can handle many RSS feeds together, and it takes just a glance over to determine if something you are interested in comes through.

Why do web sites and companies do this? Because it creates customer loyalty. It is another avenue of being constantly connected with the customers and viewers of their web sites. It is a way to keep the people coming back and back again.

In the next article of this series I will discuss the method by which a feed is created and then pushed out to the Net world at large for others to read it.

Previous Articles In This Series:

  1. The Basics of Blogging and Web Site Creation - Part One: Content Is King

  2. The Basics of Blogging and Web Site Creation - Part Two: Introduction To Keywords

  3. Part Three - Keywords, Tags, Categories - Oh Vey! I Am So Mixed Up!

  4. Blogging & Website Basics - Part Four: So How The Hell Do I Get Bonafide Links To My Blog?

  5. Blogging - Part Five: Trying to Understand the Psychology Behind It All

  6. Blogging - Part Six: Viral Technology - An Introduction

  7. Blogging - Part Seven: Article Submission As A Tool To Extend Your Reach

  8. Basics Of Blogging Series - Part Eight: Using Email As An Advertising Tool

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Categories: technology, internet, Basics of Blogging Series, What Is RSS? Series
Basics of Blogging Series: Part Nine - RSS Mania Addiction An Introduction To RSS and the Terminology

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