Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


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RSS Feeds – Sharing Your Message

Diving off the boatIf you’re like me, you’re wishing the captain on this cruise through cyberland hadn’t abandoned ship off the stern. Without a map or navigator and having no clue how to steer this baby, I’ve been feeling my way through the swampland.

You remember those old cars at Six Flags? You just thought you were steering them, but really, they kept going until they hit the metal brace in the center of the path that redirected them. (Sorry for bursting your childhood memories of the first time you drove a car!)

That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling this past year as I’ve embarked on my new career. I’m computer savvy, right? I can do this … um … I think …

But RSS feeds completely discombobulated me. I wanted faces on my blog to show how many people followed¬†it. I didn’t put compute that folks clicked the link to follow and then never returned. Not that I don’t appreciate the follow – those are just flat-out encouraging! ūüôā The feeds, though, don’t stand up on stage and say, “Here I am.” Instead they work in the background actually driving more folks to the blog.

BOY ON SCHWINN BIKE DELIVERING PAPERS 1955This is the way it works (as best I can figure.) RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” Syndication being the sharing of your message. I know I’m getting really basic here, but I needed to understand every stinkin’ piece of this to wrap my brain around it. I add the RSS feed to my blog. Mrs.¬†Readsalot happens by and reads my post deciding she wants to read more of what I share.¬†She clicks the RSS link and chooses how¬†she wants to receive the new postings. Then when I post again, Mrs.¬†Readsalot will automatically get my next brilliant writing.

Reminds me of when my brother had a paper route and I had to get up early on Sunday morning and blacken my hands folding the news and stuffing them in little plastic sleeves. None of that! Not even hurling them across the handlebars of my balanced bike!

Putting an RSS feed on my site here at WordPress merely required me to add it in my widget page. Totally easy. I could even do it before I knew what it was. But the beauty of it is that every time I make a new post, those who have suscribed to my blog received my post on their “reader.”

When I link to an RSS, it asks me where I want to read it. I have a google account, so my reader is a google reader. I can also choose to collect feeds to my igoogle front page or my yahoo front page.

The bathroom isn’t an option, though.

So as a blog writer, RSS feeds are totally unobtrusive – no smiling faces – although I can find info about how many folks have connected that way. And the value is enormous because it puts my message directly into the “hands” of folks who want it.

As a blog reader, it is also invaluable because it brings me the latest feeds from blogs I’ve enjoyed and found beneficial in the past. I don’t read everything every day, of course, but having the most recent posts sure helps to keep up with my online friends, changes in the publishing world, and general news that I’ll often miss.

Your turn: What was the last blog you clicked the RSS feed on? You haven’t? Well try it! My RSS button is near the top of the right column!