There are a lot of people out there who still have no clue what RSS is. Most of them are using Microsoft Internet Explorer which doesn’t understand RSS very well (if at all). But those who have made the move to Firefox or any Web 2.0 browser are starting to realize that RSS is the only way to keep track of what is new on their favorite sites.
RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” or “Rich Site Summary” and is usually noted with one of two orange icons that will show up on a site that features an RSS feed.

RSS livemark The RSS site icon from FireFox 1.5

RSS icon another RSS icon.
A feed is nothing more than a way for your browser or feed reader to know when a site is updated by its’ owner. This site has an RSS feed- and if you bookmark (or favorite) the feed icon you will see a little red star in it every time I add something to the site. No need to send an e-mail to let you know that there is something new, you’ll already know.
Good sites have content that is updated frequently- on the topic that brought you there in the first place (usually through search). The RSS feed is an unobtrusive way to let you know that there is something new.
Web 2.0 is about building community- or relationships, between the site author and the reader. Websites without RSS don’t build a connection with their audience near as quickly as those with RSS. How long would the telephone have lasted if there was no way to let you know that someone is calling? WordPress builds in RSS feeds automatically for you which is just one of the reasons we believe it to be the fastest, easiest way to build your sites audiences quickly.
If you aren’t using an RSS compatible browser now, you will be soon- since the next generation of Internet Explorer will be fully compatible. But, if you can’t wait, download Firefox now- and look into Sage as a RSS reader (links to both on our WP tools page).

note: According to Dave Winer Microsoft just released a public beta of IE 7 which includes RSS support- so it may not be long for the rest of you.


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  1. Excellent article… with just the right amount of technical detail to encourage the reader to learn more.

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