Tomorrow is RSS Awareness Day! But do you know what RSS stands for? Do you use RSS to make your online life easier? Do you realize that if you surf online and do not know what RSS is, you’re missing a considerable amount on the web?
Today, Catavino is taking a break from wine to bring you a short intro on the merits of RSS. If you are reading this in your “feed reader” you may want to scroll onto another story and/or tag this one to email from your reader who is less in the know. For those of you who don’t know what I just said or what I was talking about, you are probably not reading this in your feed reader, and you probably are starting to get annoyed with us.
OBJECTIVE OF RSS AWARENESS DAY
As taken from the RSS Awareness Website: What is the takeaway message? Only a very small percentage of the Internet population is aware of the RSS format and its benefits, and that number is growing slowly over time. By creating the RSS Awareness Day and celebrating it every year we should be able to get the general public exposed to this format, hopefully increasing the usage of RSS feeds and related applications among Internet users.
RSS dates back to 1995 when Apple Computer’s Advanced Technology Group created something called the Meta Content Framework (MCF). I can’t pretend to tell you what this means, but I can say this was the launching point for several other evolutions in RSS technology which included people such as Netscape, RSS-DEV Working Group and Dave Winer, not to mention terms such as UserLand Software and RDF Site Summary. My suggestion, if you’re uber geeky and want to learn about the history of RSS, head over to Wikipedia, but for the rest of us, let’s focus on why this tool is so convenient.
Let’s step back in time to when you actually had to walk a few towns over to deliver a message to a friend of yours. A little time consuming, no? But with the invention of the mailbox, suddenly, you had all your messages delivered right to your house without you ever having direct contact with the sender. This was a major breakthrough in infrastructure of communication. Now let’s apply this same theory to the Internet. Currently, you may have a large folder of bookmarks you use to find your favorite websites. Now, imagine that many of those websites have a tool that allows you to know when new information has been published? By simply going to your “mailbox”, called a feedreader, you can catch up on all the new articles on your favorite websites without ever leaving the page! Simply go to your favorite website and press on the small orange icon with three white stripes to subscribe. Choose which feedreader you want the information sent to, such as Google Reader, and voila! You now can stay up to date by simply signing into your feedreader whenever you want!
For Ryan and I, this tool has become an integral to our lives. Every morning, we wake up and immediately scan through our Google Reader to catch up on the latest events. While Ryan scrolls through new photos posted from his favorite photography sites, I check out new posts on language sites and travel blogs. We both subscribe to over 50 wine blogs, not to mention news sites like the BBC or the New York Times. In short, it takes all of those websites you love, and puts them all in one neat little organizer for you to peruse at your leisure.
We also know that you might still be confused, so sit back and watch this amazing video done by the people at Common Craft. Their series “…. in plain english” are some of the best instructional videos for the web out there. Check them out!
SPREAD THE WORD
There are 3 Ways You can Help Spread RSS Worldwide
1. Blog About it: Write a piece today on RSS Awareness Day!
2. Put a Banner or Badge on Your Site
3. Tell your friends, and help educate those that don’t understand
We’ve obviously chosen to do all three, but even by simply mentioning it today in a post, you will be aiding fellow Internet users far and wide in adopting a very handy little tool. However, if our efforts to spread RSS become successful, we may have to create a second Awareness Day: Organize your Feedreader Day!
Gabriella and Ryan