Shhh, I’m going to tell you a little secret. Well, actually what I’m disclosing is not really a secret at all. It’s just not as obvious or publicized as it should be. My “sneaky stash” deals with how I read blogs. But before I reveal my furtive formula allow me to detail how my new fancy for reading blogs came to be.

Over the last few years blogs have permeated the internet and have thus given every man, woman, and child a reason to throw their own First Amendment fiesta. As the masses began to exercise their new medium for free speech I began to look for a better set of headphones and a cooler pair of sunglasses. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what the attraction to reading someone else’s bombastic blurbs was. My life with work, family, and home was busy enough without trying to sort through the web’s new can full of garbage. It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what you’re thinking about my rhetoric right now, but if you hang with me for one more second I’ll get to the juice.

It’s not uncommon for me to search the internet for information that pertains to my job while I’m at work and I do the same with the things that interest me personally while I’m at home. What I soon began to find was that the results from my daily search queries often landed me repeatedly to a familiar set of web sites, many of which are… you guessed it. Blogs! And then serendipity hit me like a two ton heavy thing.

A secret to reading blogs is the RSS feed, often shrouded in the RSS feed icon. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it’s a popular technology for notifying users of updates to content in a web site, blog, or Internet TV channel. The benefit of RSS is the aggregation of content from multiple web sources in one place. Basically, you don’t have to keep checking back to any particular web site to see if it’s been updated. All you need to do is subscribe to the RSS feed, much like you would subscribe to a newspaper, and then read the updates from the site, delivered via RSS feeds to your newsreader.

First, you’ll need to download an RSS newsreader (see Google for more about RSS newsreaders). Some internet browsers such as Firefox and Safari natively read RSS feeds and hence do not require the download of a separate newsreader. After you have a newsreader you can begin to look for those camouflaged RSS feed icons or links to RSS feeds in the web sites you often visit. Before long you’ll feel the same way about RSS feeds as you did about electricity. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Once you start using RSS feeds you’ll feel like you’re simply reading the headlines of all of your favorite newspapers and magazines. Sorting through the junk is easy and you can read only what you want to read. Just look for titles from your Favorites list in your Bookmarks that are worth looking at and the secret of RSS feeds will be revealed. You’ll be amazed with how the RSS technology dynamically changes those Bookmark titles.

If you have an RSS newsreader and would like to subscribe to the RPS blog then simply click on any of the RSS feed icons in this post or the Entries (RSS) link at the bottom of this web site. Happy blogging!

Categories: Web Development