RSS is simply the streaming of content from web sites that can be brought straight to web content readers via a myriad collection of customizable RSS portals. Clear as mud, eh? That’s how I felt every time time I heard about RSS from friends that used it for the past couple years, and reading the Wikipedia page didn’t help me wrap my mind around it either. Some people would say, “You gotta use RSS!” But I had not idea where to begin to know what RSS was and how to take advantage of it.
Still, it isn’t easy to explain. The first sentence of this post is as close as I can come to in a technical manner. To describe what it does for you is much easier and most helpful. An RSS feed is a subscription of new content from websites. If you subscribe to the content of a site, it will come to you in what you use to read your RSS subscriptions. Some people use their browsers, others email applications, and then there are even purchasable applications to use on your computer.
But without having to think about it, web-based RSS aggregators are the best means of subscribing, in my opinion. An aggregator, of this nature, is a custom website that with an account for any user, you can have your subscriptions sent to this aggregator site. Once all the content is going to the same account, you can organize the contents with labels, categories, by subject, type, etc. (that all depends on what any given aggregator calls categorization). Popular aggregators are iGoogle, NetVibes, Google Reader, and My Yahoo.
Still, these are extra services from the web elite companies. Well, NetVibes is an exception—I do think that the aggregator is the primary purpose of their business(?). Anyway, the point is that since these and many others like them juggle so many aspects to Internet empirical system, I do think it is understandable that their RSS aggegators are going to be above average, but certainly not as good as a group’s specializing in RSS aggregation would be.
Well, I found a web aggregation app that I think could be a perfect fit for anyone! Feedly is a sophisticated, easy to use aggregator that works off of your Google Reader account. To get Feedly, one primary requirements is that you add it as an add-on to the browser Firefox (you can’t get it with any other browser that I’m aware). So if you create a Google Reader account, or you have one already, you can download the add-on for Feedly, and it will walk you through how it works with help pages and tutorials. Even if you loose those links, Feedly is one of the more intuitive web apps I’ve used. Give it a couple weeks, and you’ll be zipping through tons of RSS content with ease!
Why do I bring this up?
Too many web users kill time surfing the net aimlessly like they would surf the channels on their TV with the up and down channel button on their remote. Sure, you’ll find something useful and interesting on the web, eventually, if you hit the same sites day in and day out that you bookmark and visit often, but it’s really not an efficient means of finding good reading/watching online content. Most likely, not all the content of any given website will interest you, and you’ll spend precious thousands of hours of you life filtering through websites to find something that interests you.
Aggregating the content, whether you do choose Feedly or another, means you will get a quick glance of a live streamed TV guide, as it were. The uniqueness over a guide though is many sites make all their content available right from the RSS subscription, so when you browse the subscription, you can read/watch/view all the content from there and never even visit the site! This may sound pointless, but again, it saves you time!
I have lots of things I want to do in life. Finding time for all of it is always a challenge. An aggregator makes it that much easier to find time for everything else I wanna do. I think you would find it can do the same for you!