What the Heck’s an RSS Feed & Why Do You Want One?

Allow me to veer off into techie stuff for a moment, but only to change your online life entirely….

To keep up with the latest postings in Family Travel: See The World With Your Kids, you need RSS (Really Simple Syndication) unless you don’t mind manually coming back to this blog each day to see what’s new (not that I don’t want you to work for all of this great info.)

RSS feeds literally “feed” your home page (on Yahoo or Google for example) with clickable headlines from Web sites and blogs that you like.  You’ll need to set up your home page to add content, and then as long as you’re logged in as You, the home page displays the latest posts in all of your hand-picked areas of interest.

I warn you, it’s addictive.  Think of your best bookmarks or favorite Favorites all feeding their latest goodies onto your home page.  You’re thinking, “Wow, it really is all about ME!”

My own personal Yahoo home page has every travel-related feed known to humankind, a bunch of finance, tech and blogging blogs, foul-mouthed & hilarious Wonkette and In the Pink Texas because they’re great for political stuff, and some drag racing feeds.  Latest headlines and interesting pop culture stuff too.

THAT’S how you get to be a know-it-all.  Takes me 2 cups of coffee to get through it, but I figure that doing housekeeping is highly overrated; then I go off and write like a banshee ’cause all that reading makes me want to do Author Work.

To get yourself started, look around on your favorite sites for a clickable link that says RSS or RSS feed, an orange button that says RSS or XML, or the really knucklehead-proof button that says something like “Add this site to My Yahoo.” Click and start populating your home page with something more interesting than weather and DJIA ticker stats. To see Family Travel’s feed, look up at the top of this blog’s page, above the lovely Hong Kong skyline, and there are the buttons.

If you’re on another site clicking RSS buttons and get a bizarro page full of code gibberish, freak out not.

I figured this out about 3 days ago (and I’m a liberal arts major)….look up into the URL address bar above the code goop and you’ll see a URL with the site’s name and some jumbly stuff and the words rss or maybe xml in there somewhere.  Right click and Copy that URL.  Take it back to the Add Content section of your home page (feeling very geeky about now) and look for something like “Add Feed By URL.”  That’s your cue. Paste that rss URL into that box, and if the cyber Gods cooperate, you’ve added the feed.

I’d love to know if this post is useful to you (comments for this blog are a bit thin; like, there aren’t really any, so talk to me) and then go get RSS fed….