When I asked for feedback on what people wanted to know about blogs and blogging, many of them wanted to know about RSS. The main question being what is RSS? So here is an explanation of those who do not know: RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, is easily recognizable through the orange square icon found at the top of most blogs’ sidebars.
It is like a subscription service, enabling your followers to receive any new material you’ve written as soon as it’s published. It saves you time and makes it easy for you to keep up with new stuff without having to search all your favorite blogs for it. Think of it like subscribing to a magazine: the new post (or message) gets delivered straight to you, either via email into your in-box, or into search engine readers if you’ve subscribed via that method. A search engine reader provides pages with links to newly available posts, or individual ‘cookies’ on the search engine homepage which lists the last three posts of that blog through headline links. Apart from allowing your followers to keep track of your new material, RSS also has other uses, mainly through social media.
When you publish a new blog post, it can be ‘fed’ into your social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter. This means that each new message appears as a link automatically in these sites. The RSS feed delivers your new content in this format for your followers to read. In Facebook the whole post is published in the Notes pages, and your Homepage or Status page shows the headline link (known as a permalink) with perhaps the first few lines of the post as a taster. In Twitter your post is listed as the title and the first few words, followed by a tinyurl (or reduced link) to the blog post. As a Twitter message uses only 140 characters, there will not be room for the whole permalink, so various methods are used to shorten it.
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