About RSS and news readers

It occurred to me the other day that there are still a lot of people who visit our website the old-fashioned way.  That is, they think to themselves, “I wonder if there’s anything new on Bryan and Cassia’s blog today?”, and they click on a bookmark or type our URL into the address bar of their browser and visit our site.  More often than not they come away disappointed, because frankly our lives are not interesting enough (and our spare time too infrequent) to post items on our blog on a regular basis.  This unfortunately represents a minute or two of wasted time on our readers’ part.  Furthermore, as your list of friends with blogs increases, it also becomes more difficult to remember to check all of them.

Thankfully, there’s an end run around all of this.  Why go to the Internet, when you can have the Internet come to you?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and usually involves something called an XML file, which stands for eXtensible Markup Language.  But only programming geeks need to keep those terms straight these days.  Here’s a helpful little video that explains what RSS feeds can do for you.

If you haven’t noticed by now, the little orange-and-white broadcasting icons that sometimes appear on the right-hand side of your address bar allow you to subscribe to content published on that particular site.  That way, whenever something new is posted to the site, a notification is sent to your particular news reader, giving you the power to choose whether or not you want to visit that site to read the item, and saving you the time wasted in looking at sites that change infrequently (like ours).

We have two feeds for content and one feed for comments on our site.  Subscribe to this feed if you have a news reader like Google Reader (which I highly, highly recommend, by the way), or to this feed if you simply want to be notified by e-mail whenever we post something new to the site.  If you’d like to follow the comments that are posted here, subscribe to this feed.

Simple, eh?  Watch out, though, as following news sites and blogs can become quite addictive!  (Case in point: I currently have 101 subscriptions on my Google Reader site.  The stories I find most interesting are “shared” with friends and appear in the Noteworthy News Items sidebar on the right.)

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