A Product of Culture Building – RSS Feeds

I don’t usually write about technology. I think that readers/writers should be responsible enough to pick the gadgets, apps, and what-not that suites them. Even so, I know that in the large vat of the ether of the World Wide Web we readers and writers often overlook some of the best technologies at our disposal, thus, leaving most of us behind the times technologically. I don’t want you to be left behind. We culture-minded folk need to stay sharp and up-to-date. This is why I want to highly recommend that you take the time to learn what RSS feeds are and how they would optimize all your web surfing.

What are RSS feeds? Why RSS feeds?
It’s a simple code that with a web address within the code will send a “syndication” of a website’s content right to your RSS feed reader. Browsing websites is practical at times, but usually it’s not. You get distracted with each web site; trying to understand the layout and how it works. You get lots of ads in your face, and you might even click on one or two. A lot of web site search features don’t work well either, so you may have a 50% chance to find the content that you went to the web site for in the first place. That means half of the time, you end up back at Google anyway trying to use their superior search.

Another way to think of RSS feeds is the way Twitter and Facebook pages work. On your main Facebook page, you get a feed of content from all your friends. It continuously updates. You can quickly find content your interested in. RSS feeds probably inspired a lot of the work flow of Facebook and Twitter’s streams of content.

For these, and other reasons I don’t need to go into, getting all the web content of sites you enjoy sent to one RSS reader site or desktop client is the way to go to find what your really after faster, efficiently, and effectively.

Are they difficult to use?
Not really. If you like Gmail, for instance, than you would probably adapt to the flow of Google Reader rather quickly. If you would prefer, many desktop mail clients can subscribe to RSS. Web Browsers too. However, Google Readers is more useful because it optimizes your searches of all your RSS subscriptions. You’ll find the content quickly in Google Reader.

What are some reliable/efficient RSS feeders?
Google Reader, Apple’s Mail, Feedly (a magazine-like way to view your Google Reader subscriptions), FireFox…. I’m not well-versed in the others in the market — which there are many — but these above I have used and I think if I can anyone can use one of these. But my personal favorite is Google Reader for online use and another Apple desktop client Gruml.

How much would RSS feeds speed my web surfing up?
Not only will you be much faster, you’ll undoubtedly be making better use of all the web as well. I think in my case RSS feeds make me about 20% faster and more efficient.

Why do you care?
Time on the web can be just as wasteful as flipping through TV channels between 2:00 AM to 5:00 AM. You may stumble upon something once in that amount of time worth watching for five minutes, but it won’t be satisfactory of meaningful. I hate to know my readers may waste much of their time distracted by the vat of senseless web surfing. I want you to be a better steward of your time. That’s all.

Then again, you can go right on wasting your life away if you like. It’s a free World Wide Web.

What do you like to use?

I imagine several of you already use RSS feeds. Any aggregators/clients you want to recommend? Are there any tips you would like to share to other readers? We all go straight to the sites from time to time, so, what are some reasons that going straight to the web site would be superior to their RSS feeds?