Before I started using Google Reader, I used to have dozens of websites bookmarked. I would then check those sites periodically to see what was new, if anything. Over time, I realized there were many problems with this system:
- A bookmark on my work computer would not automatically show up on my personal computer
- If there was nothing new on a particular site, the time I spent checking it was time wasted
- There was no easy way to keep track of what I had read or what I intended to read again
RSS feeds have fixed all of those problems and provided even more flexibility than what I was looking for. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is really just a method of “subscribing” to a site or portion thereof. Using an RSS reader, I can see what’s new for all of my subscriptions at once, mark what I’ve read, and move on with my day. I can also open my reader on any computer with an internet connection and see the same feeds, much like checking a web-based email account. Think of it also like a traditional newspaper subscription. The news comes to you, and you can keep track of what you’ve read.
Check out this great tutorial on RSS
Google Reader, mentioned above, is my favorite reader, but there are several others to consider:
To subscribe to a feed, just look for the little orange icon (see above) in your web browser. Most news providers, blogs, blog post comments, twitter accounts, and more have associated RSS feeds.
My advice: Start using a feed reader. First subscription: this blog!