Ever feel like you might be missing out on the latest on whatever which you may need to know for your job or just because you were interested in that topic?
Let the news come to you! This is the power and the promise of RSS (Really Simple Syndication).
Remember aggregators? I bet you use one nearly every day, but didn't realize it. I use one every time I sign on for my online banking at home. The aggregator makes sure that I get my e-bills from, say, the electric company, the cable company, etc. and also lets me see the full text of each bill so that I know exactly what was on the statement before I tell the bank to pay it for me. All I had to do was to tell the bank program which companies send me bills each month and the aggregator program does the rest!
Or you might already be using My Yahoo! (which is another type of aggregator). My Yahoo! can show you your local weather, track your specific stocks, and provide the latest headlines on topics catered to your interests, etc.
Similarly, you can go to a site like Bloglines and tell it which blogs or news sites (etc.) you want to keep current on. Bloglines is a free service and you can get started immediately. You need to register with them but you don't need to install any software on your PC to use it. Plus, if you yourself maintain a blog, you can add your blog to the collection so that other people could have it included in their search results.
There are even multiple search engines for these "feeds" (remember the newscaster saying "This Just In" when he or she is reading a breaking news story "hot" off the wire?). One is called Feedster. Just as people turn to Google to search the Web, people turn to Feedster to search blogs. Use keywords to tell the computer what content you are interested in (such as acronyms, hot topics, etc., and even your own name). Other popular RSS feed search sites are Technorati, Topix, Syndic8.com, and Google Blog Search.
How can you tell if a site offers an RSS feed? Look for RSS or XML and/or words like "Syndicate this site".
Another advantage of RSS is that you don't get spam. You get only the content for which you asked!
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