RSS Maybe you’ve noticed this little orange symbol scattered around websites all over the internet, including my page. It’s the symbol for RSS, and until recently, I had no idea what the heck that meant. And I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t really care, either. But this blog has forced me to catch up with the 21st century and get familiar with some of these newfangled internet things. So I did some research, and I’ll tell you what–this RSS thing is actually pretty cool.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and sure enough, the concept is really simple. Basically, it’s a way to organize and publish content on frequently updated websites, like blogs, news sites, what have you. These updates are organized in the form of of news feeds. If you subscribe to a website’s feed, you’ll get an update automatically every time they post new content.

Why is this helpful? Well, say you like to keep up with several different websites. You’ve got a national news website, your local news site, a humor site, a site with pictures of puppies doing funny things, and a couple of cool blogs (like Joe’s Place!). It might get pretty time consuming to check every one of these sites for new updates all the time. But if you subscribe to their RSS feeds, you don’t have to worry about that. You can get every update from every one of those sites sent directly to you automatically as soon as they’re posted, so you can read them all on one convenient, well-organized page without having to search for anything.

So how do you get in on this? Well, you’ll need an RSS reader. Don’t worry, it’s not complicated. There are plenty of these floating around, but the most simple ones are web-based. Personally, I use Google Reader. It’s the only one I’ve ever used, so I can’t really comment on any others, but Google Reader is very easy to use. All you have to do is click on that link and sign up for a free Google account. If you use Gmail or any other Google services and already have a Google account, just sign in using that, and you’re good to go. Then all that’s left to do is subscribe to some feeds, and let Google do the rest. With Google Reader, you can view your feed online from any computer, or on your cell phone (if you’ve got a data plan and all that jazz). If you use Google as your homepage, you can even have your feed posted directly to your page so you see it as soon as you get on the internet.

If you want to keep up with my blog, click the link below, or the RSS button on the right side of my page, next to the Facebook and Twitter icons. It will take you to a site where you can choose from a list of web-based RSS readers (including Google’s) to subscribe to my page. If RSS just isn’t for you, that’s cool–you can always follow Joe’s Place on Facebook, Twitter, or in your email by clicking on the Email Subscription button on the right side of your screen.

Click here to get started

If you’re still not clear on how all this works, feel free to ask me in the comments, and I’ll try my best to explain it better. Google also has a nice little overview of how it works on their site. I’m definitely no expert in all this, so if anybody who knows more about RSS than I do wants to chime in with some more advice, I would appreciate it. I just thought I’d share this in case anybody else around here is as far behind the times as I am. Until next time, this here’s Joe, signing off.