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A Sustainable Design Blog

Harnessing the Power of RSS

by Jennifer Stewart | Sep 20, 2011 | Opinions

We’ve had a few clients ask about how they can sign up to receive our blog posts in their inbox, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to teach folks about the lovely power of the RSS feed. As a person who can “never remember the address of that awesome blog”, I find RSS feeds to be a glorious tool that delivers great content to my inbox and requires very little of my precious time and brain power. If this sounds like something you’d like to use, read on.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is essentially a feed of any content posted to a site. When you subscribe to an RSS feed, you get an alert whenever new content has been added. There are several ways to get these alerts, so here are the most common:

Sign up for alerts by email. Many email applications like Outlook and Apple's Mail allow you to get RSS feeds delivered to your inbox. Most of the time it's a simple as clicking on the little RSS icon, then copying and pasting the link into your email application. If you use Apple Mail, just open the blog in Safari and click on the RSS button. You'll immediately get an approval request from Mail asking if you want to add this feed to your inbox.

Use an RSS Email Service. There are some mail programs that don't have RSS built in to the inbox, so if you want to get articles sent to your mailbox, sign up for a forwarding service. I'd recommend RSS FWD as it allows you to customize how often you receive alerts and when they get delivered to you.

Subscribe to an RSS Reader. Many online email hosting services like Google and Yahoo! have RSS readers that do not deliver to your inbox, but instead create a type of customizable newspaper for your homepage viewing. Google Reader is a blank slate where you can request the content you want. My Yahoo! has some built-in content, but you can Add feeds to personalize the page.

Use your browser. Firefox is actually smart enough to recognize RSS feeds and help you subscribe to them, either through your browser bookmarks, Google, Mail, or Yahoo!.

So the next time you find an awesome blog and say to yourself "I really need to remember to read this," check for the RSS feed, sign up and spend that precious brain juice on your bigger tasks.

Jennifer Stewart is the Office Manager and wanna-be organizational psychologist at Modern Species. For more posts from her, click here.

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Well, for those that like that sort of thing, I should think it is just the sort of thing they would like. - Abraham Lincoln