For several years now, the trend among geeks has been to abandon the RSS format. RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a way to queue up and serve content from the internet.
Source: The Case for RSS — MacSparky
Geeks might not like RSS, but it’s an essential tool if you monitor news or need to stay up to date with developments in a subject area.
An RSS feed is a way of listing material that’s published online. There’s a feed for this site if you’re interested. It sends out a short headline and extract as each post is published. That way you can stay up to date with everything published here without needing to constantly revisit the site to check for updates.
Some big sites break up their news rivers into separate feeds. At the New York Times or The Guardian you can choose to read the technology news feed. At ZDNet you can pick subject feeds or selected a feed for an individual journalist.
Sometimes you can also roll your own niche feeds from big sites by using a search term to get a list of all stories including a certain key word.
The beauty of RSS is that it is comprehensive. It misses nothing. If you go offline for a week you can pick up where you left off and catch up immediately.
RSS is comprehensive
The alternatives are social media sites like Twitter or Facebook. They are nothing like as comprehensive or as easy to manage. Tweets go flying past in a blur on Twitter.
All the main social media sites manage your feed. They decide what gets served up. This means you can miss important posts as they get pushed out of sight. That doesn’t happen with RSS.
In his story David Sparks says you need to be on Twitter all the time to catch news. Make that: you need to be on Twitter all the time AND staying more alert than most people can manage.
The other great thing about RSS is the format is so universal. It can be as simple as raw text. You can read it on your phone, tablet, computer or anywhere at any time. You can suck it out and place it on your own web site, for instance.
There are RSS readers built into browsers, mail clients like Outlook and other standard software. Or at least there were. I haven’t checked again lately. One of the most popular readers is Feedly. This is both a website and a series of free apps. You can pay a little extra to extra features such as an ability to search feeds, tools for integrating feeds into your workflows and so on.