Why bother with an RSS Aggregator and what is it anyway?

As you browse the web you’ve probably seen buttons like this one:

RSS Feed for Salish Sea Blog
That’s my button. Others might look like this:

or and to keep you confused, there are other similar buttons.

Those buttons will all take you to a boring page of text that is to be read by a program called an aggregator. So, to use these buttons, you will need an aggregator. You can download free aggregators – I’ll suggest some in a future post.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Sites like this blog, all online newspaper sections, and most Internet pages that are updated with some regularity automatically update the information on that boring page of text every time something new appears at the site.

If you have an aggregator, click on my button (above) and copy that URL. Click the subscribe button on your aggregator (or whatever command is expected) and the program will do the rest. It will figure out the name of my blog, Salish Sea, and display it in your list of feeds. If you click on that name, in another pane you will see list of the titles of my recent posts. If you click on any of those you will see a synopsis of that post. Click on that and it will open your browser to that page in my blog.

Your aggregator regularly and swiftly checks all of the sites of interest to you and shows you at a glance what is new. Is this good? For me, I seldom listen to or watch broadcast news — I usually know about breaking stories hours or days before the public. Although I glance at the popular news on my aggregator, I am always up-to-date with the subjects of particular interest to me. That includes blogs such as this one too. Currently I am monitoring 46 RSS feeds… and I see that at the moment those feeds have a total of 522 stories. Just the news, no ads. You will have to try it to see how simple and easy this is. And fun.

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