There are lots of great new tools on the Internet today: blogs, wikis, podcasts, XML, RSS, social networks, social bookmarks, and more. Making sense of them can be a daunting task. The one key new technology that can help to put all the rest into perspective is RSS. You don’t have to know anything technical about RSS – just remember that one of the S’s stands for Subscription (to be correct, RSS actually stands for Really Simple Syndication, but Subscription sums it up).
Just like you can subscribe to a magazine that shows up in your mailbox, you can subscribe to all different types of information (newspapers, journals, audio files, video files, etc.) published on the Internet. These digital subscriptions show up in your digital mailbox (there are many different free digital mailboxes available to choose from). Just like you check your postal mailbox for new print information, you check your digital mailbox for new digital information. RSS is a delivery service – the power is in that it is easy to subscribe and no matter what source the information comes from, it awaits you in your mailbox whenever you are ready.
Bloglines (www.bloglines.com) is a digital mailbox. It is one of many choices, but it stands out as a free, popular, and easy to use. With a few clicks, you can be up & running with your mailbox (also called an aggregator) very quickly. Try creating a free account at Bloglines, and happy subscribing!
Thanks to Will Richardson for helping to push me forward in my approach to teaching web 2.0 tools to everyone.