What is RSS?

You may have been on a website and noticed an icon that looks like the this next to their social media links. This is typically a link that allows you to subscribe to that website’s RSS feed. RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, although it is now usually referred to as standing for Really Simple Syndication. RSS allows you to view the newest updates to a website without having to constantly visit the page in search of new content. RSS makes it easier to keep track of things like the news, blogs, and other websites that may frequently or infrequently update.

An RSS feed compiles headlines and new content from your favorite websites in one easy-to-browse feed. It cuts out the necessity to constantly visit separate websites to look for new content; instead, you can curate your own list of websites you enjoy to be pushed into an RSS feed reader that will deliver the newest updates directly to you. While this may sound somewhat similar to subscribing to an email newsletter, RSS provides some benefits that email subscriptions do not. For example, you an easily unsubscribe from an RSS feed, whereas it is usually not very easy to unsubscribe from an email newsletter. Also, subscribing to an RSS feed won’t take over your inbox like email newsletters do. To see RSS feed updates, you can use a web-based RSS feed monitor, or download one to your computer or mobile device (phone/tablet). These will line up the updates to the different RSS feeds you have subscribed to so that you don’t have to go from page to page searching for new content.

In order to subscribe to the RSS feeds of different websites, as mentioned previously, you need to pick an RSS feed reader that is suitable to you. For example, a popular web-based feed reader that is available is called Feedly. Feedly compiles the RSS feeds you subscribe to in one minimalistic and easy-to-use page. You can also find feeds to other websites based on topics (e.g. food or fashion) and recommendations from the Feedly community. An example of an app for your smartphone is called Newsify. Again, this app provides a customizable experience for keeping up with your RSS feed. This app even is compatible with the Apple Watch.

RSS is a great way to get the information you want to read about in a streamlined format that is easily accessible. Next time you visit one of your favorite websites, look for the RSS icon to see if you are able to build your own customized RSS feed and remain up-to-date on important updates you otherwise may have missed.