What RSS means?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. It is not designed for people to read. Its designed to pass data around. Many news-related sites, blogs, and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it. This is ultimately a different way of subscribing and I am a big fan of it. You would have definitely seen icon around the web for RSS feed specially for blogs.
RSS repackages site’s content in XML tags and automatically posts updates on a feed. This feed is an XML document that can then be “plugged in” to an
RSS reader application or also called
RSS feed aggregator, so you can access all of the updates from your favorite news websites and blogs etc. in one application. You don’t have to waste time by visiting each site individually, scrolling through advertisements. And you ensure your privacy, by not needing to join each website’s email newsletter.
RSS is content in its purest form, curated only by the consumer and presented in chronological order. It is not algorithmically messed with, which is why there’s nothing better.
I feel, the problem which essentially leads to RSS’ downfall, is that it is pure consumption and not interaction. You can’t “like” or “comment” on an update that comes to you via RSS, nor easily share. It’s difficult for sites to monetize it, or analyze user behavior, or promote their own agenda. It’s not “social” and every other site these days needs to be social. It’s not a way that sites can keep users hooked on the site to boost ad impressions.
Back in the day, Gmail allowed users to keep track of RSS feeds and get email alerts using WebClips (now unavailable). Google also had a quite popular feed aggregator of its own called
Google Reader, which they apparently closed (considering no ad revenue I guess) in 2013. Lately, Mozilla has announced their end of support to Firefox Live Bookmarks. I always used the Firefox Live Bookmarks (and I am the only one I know), I would just check my bookmark toolbar to see if any of my bookmarks have new posts. I am very upset by this news. RSS, in general, is extremely underrated. But then people do prefer relying on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit etc. as their sources.
Who’s Using RSS Now?
Today, 35 million websites currently publish RSS feeds. There’s a modest audience, too. So should you provide an RSS feed on your blog? Yes. RSS is a valuable open standard that has found a new purpose in our connected world. You might not be able to access detailed analytics, but there are lots of other good reasons to keep it. So, to subscribe to an RSS feed all you need is an RSS feed URL and an RSS reader application. You can still add an RSS feed to Outlook, Yahoo. The closest Google gets with RSS Feeds is with Google Alerts. You can use IFTTT (they don’t send ads) to trigger an email with a summary of recent posts from your favorite feeds. The popular feed aggregators being Feedly, Inoreader and Flipboard. You can try them but they are not the same old RSS feed readers, they tend to provide a personalized touch to it. You can check this site’s RSS Feed XML for example, which updates with the posts here.
RSS is the best social network because there are no people in it.