RSS What?!

OK… Seriously what the hell is RSS. You’ve seen it everywhere, even on this blog (look right). Is it an exclusive club? Is it a newsletter? What the hell is it! Do I even have to pay to access it? 

To understand what RSS is all about, we have to dissect the acronym itself. I asked some friends of their opinion as to what RSS really meant. Here are some interesting suggestions:

Really Stupid Shit

Really Sophisticated Stuff

Rich Sexy Stockbroker

Republic of Singapore Ship

Rich Site Summary

Really Simple Syndication

Personally I thought that RSS meant Really Simple Syndication. But according to Monday’s lecture, the definition seems to be Rich Site Summary. OK… Both are interchangeably used. 

RSS icon credited from Max Delson

So what is the primary function of RSS?

It’s a subscribing feed that helps you to find out when do the blogs/websites you usually read have been updated. It works to save time and probably curb your frustration of having to keep visiting the sites and waiting in vain for the next update.

Mr Choy mentioned during lecture that RSS is very addictive but I would beg to differ here. If you are subscribing to RSS for work related websites (i.e. SIM website), then probably you won’t be so hung up about constantly getting all excited to check your RSS reader (i.e. Google Reader). But let’s say you’ve subscribed to your favorite entertainment gossip blog (i.e. Perezhilton) or even your friends’ blogs, then perhaps there is a higher possibility of addiction. It very much depends on whether you were crazy about the websites you’ve subscribed RSS feed to in the first place. 

So what’s with the RSS icon?

The orange icon used today to represent RSS was created by Mozilla for their Firefox browser. It became the lead representative in December 2005 when Microsoft Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook announced via their official blogs that they would be using the same icon as Mozilla. Early 2006, Opera browser also came to adapt the same icon, thus cementing the orange icon with white radio waves as the official RSS icon. 

If you still have any queries about RSS, check out this video for clear explanation: 

Try it today?

If you’re wondering if RSS is a pay per use program, worry no more… It’s absolutely FREE OF CHARGE! So are feed readers like Google Reader. Masternewmedia.com has some interesting suggestions for the use of RSS:

  • Creating an “ego radar”, a way of monitoring what people are saying about you and your content all over the web
  •  

     

  • Creating a lifestream - an aggregated collection of your online publishing, from Flickr photos, to blog posts, YouTube videos and Twitter tweets
  • Submitting your feed to RSS directories - how you can maximize your web exposure by making use of the huge list of RSS directories gathered together by Robin Good

 

Now do I use RSS? Nah… I still prefer to check out the websites manually. OK… I do submit my RSS feed to photoblog directories to promote my photoblog (click to check it out!!!), and so far it’s been quite useful in generating viewership for my photoblog. So what are you waiting for? Try it out today! :)

 

References:

Icons: It’s still orange, Microsoft RSS Blog, 14 December 2005

RSS icon goodness, blog post by Michael A. Affronti of Microsoft (Outlook Program Manager), 15 December 2005

What Is RSS: A Guide To Really Simple Syndication Benefits, Best Uses And Applications, Michael Pick, November 20, 2007

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