What The Hell Is RSS?

May 05, 2005

There's a good discussion going on now at TechSoup about how you can use technology to increase capacity of your nonprofit.

Their latest focus is on RSS, which is one of the more amazing technical innovations of modern communications. If you don't know what RSS is, you're not in the loop.

Most notably, you are missing two things. 1.) The ability to prrocess inhuman amounts of information on a regular basis. RSS is used by many sites to create "digests" of (a.k.a. "syndicate") their content. News sites, for example, offer these RSS "feeds" to sections of their newspaper.

It's a lot like having a TiVO for your favorite sites.

Once you subscribe to one, it appears in your RSS reader of choice. In the end, it's a lot like having a TiVO for your favorite sites — every time you sit down and you want to read, you have a list of updated articles in front of you. No wasting your life poking around the less glamorous parts of a newspaper page.

2.) If you have a website that is updated regularly, you can create a RSS feed so that others can subscribe to your page. This may seem a little superfluous if you don't even know what a RSS feed is. "Who would use it?" Plenty of folks will, especially over the next year or two. So start writing some engaging articles for your site.

Here's a bit from the Tech Soup conversation:

"If you're like most people who use the Internet, chances are you often come across new and interesting sites, but then completely forget to visit them again. Or likely you spend too much time visiting the same sites looking for new information, only to be disappointed.

In addition, your e-mail inbox is probably flooded with messages you barely have time to read, including subscriptions to newsletters that tell you about new content available on still more Web sites. ... Wouldn't it be nice if there were an easy way to have all this information come to you and go to them in a way that was easy to manage, timely, and put the reader in control? "

Read the article (and check out TechSoup forums, which are among the best of their kind on the web.) TechSoup - Articles: Using the Internet - RSS for Nonprofits: