As a former website coordinator, I am ashamed to say that I am just now learning about RSS.  But then, in asking around, I didn’t find too many other people who know about it either.  RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication (in case you’re one of those people).  In essence, it allows you to “subscribe” to all your favorite websites through a RSS reader, which “feeds” you any new updates made to those websites.  So, instead of refreshing that really great blog site twenty times a day to make sure nothing new has been posted, you can just check your RSS reader.

I have been trying out Google’s RSS reader, called Google Reader, for about two weeks now.  I cannot believe I have waited this long to take advantage of this technology.  Essentially, by using the reader, I have taken away the need to click through my bookmarked websites, and I don’t waste time surfing to websites and blogs that don’t have any new content.  Google Reader is web-based, so there is no software to download to your computer. It is incredibly easy to use, even if you are not techno-savvy – the interface looks a lot like your email inbox. In my opinion, this tool is a must for those of us who have a limited amount of time to spend online, but who want to stay connected.  Oh, and did I mention it’s FREE?

Within 10 minutes, I had my reader up and running, with subscriptions to all of my favorite blogs.  I still have some websites I need to add in, but my list of bookmarks is quickly shrinking as my RSS feeds grow.  Many blogs and websites have a little RSS logo or icon (see mine up there in the upper right corner?) that you can click on to subscribe.  However, if you don’t find an icon on a site you want to subscribe to, you can just paste the site’s URL right into your reader, and if there is an RSS feed available, the reader will find it for you. As Google suggests, using RSS is much like creating your own custom online magazine with only the articles and information that you want in it. In my case, this means that my friend’s blog post about apple pie is right there next to the latest job postings for freelance writers.

I’m not going to waste any more of your time explaining how to use the reader – go and get it now!  My blog can be the first you subscribe to…