Social Software

My Five Ws of RSS in less than 10 minutes (video included)

Here’s a great little video explaining news feeds / RSS and how to get started.

Feedburner 101
Who’s this for
Are you one of those folks whose seen these things on web sites & wondered what they’re for? Or perhaps you know what they stand. Perhaps you once were adventurous enough to click one but, then decided to leave it for another time. If so, then this post’s for you. If not, then maybe you can read on anyway & share your thoughts on how to help others benefit from this technology.

Why I like news feeds
Before we get started on our mission, the first thing I need to due is assume nothing. So if I want you to start following, and hopefully contributing, to this social experiment, I need to help make it easier for me to communicate with you. Of course, email is one way. Personally, for things like this, I really prefer news feeds.

A news feed, by it’s own naming, sounds so fresh and up-to-date. But we all know that today’s news is tomorrow’s history. Now, let’s think how that relates to our email’s inbox. I know folks that receive 150 to 200 emails a day. Maybe you’re just like them. Have you ever fallen behind? Even for a day, or, two. How about when you travel, or, go on vacation? Do the math.

200 emails /day x 5 days disconnected vacation = 1,000 emails

When’s the last time you caught up on those emails? In my own case, and I don’t receive anywhere near that volume, I pretty much read the subject and then decide if I need to use the scroll bar.

The beauty of news feeds, is that no matter when you read the content, it always feels like news. At least it does for me. (Feel free comment.) I think its because its there in front of me when I want it. So if I’m reading a post about a particular subject matter, then I know I can I can follow that feed’s timeline, news history, previous postings, etc., to see how that content evolved. I find it a lot easier to get my head around things when in my Google News Reader, than my Inbox.

What‘s a news feed and how to get started
So, if you’re wondering what’s a news feed, or, RSS (, or even ATOM), then take a look at Common Craft’s Lee LeFever’s perfect little video from his “In Plain English” series.

Where‘s my RSS icons
So if you’re convinced, here’s my RSS icons. If not, I’ll be just as happy if you subscribe via email.

When to subscribe
How about trying to subscribe right now and comment below how it went. Was it as easy as described? Did I oversimplify things? Would you like me to find some other helpful pointers out there regarding news feeds, or, readers? You’ll never know unless you ask.

Up next
I’ll post my Five Ws of Twitter next time. So if you have anything you’d like to share along these terms, please comment, or, Tweet me @stevenmistein.

Do you have any of your own preferences, or, RSS links you’d like to share?