Tag Archives: Bloglines

Week 3: Things 8-9

Welcome to week 3 of 25 Things @ Huddersfield!

8th Thing — Learn about RSS feeds and set up Bloglines account

You’ve heard of RSS? You’ve seen those small funny orange icons on websites? You’ve heard friends and colleagues swear by it, but still have no idea what RSS is? Well don’t worry! RSS is not only revolutionalising the way news, media and content creators share information, but it also is swiftly changing the way everyday users are consuming information.

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and is a file format for delivering regularly updated information over the web. Just think about the websites and news information sources you visit everyday. It takes time to visit those sites and scour the ad-filled and image-heavy pages for just the text you want to read, doesn’t it? See this video at BlipTV.

Now imagine if you could visit all those information sources and web pages in just one place and all at the same time … without being bombarded with advertising… without having to search for new information on the page you’d already seen or read before… and without having to consume a lot of time visiting each site individually. Would that be valuable to you? Well, it’s available now through a newsreader and RSS!

(Firework Display, Scotland by foxypar4)

This week’s Things focus on learning about RSS news feeds and what free tools you can use to do this.

  • Using Bloglines Tutorial (how to Keep up with dozens of blogs everyday) – This online tutorial walks you through how to setup a Bloglines account and add newsfeeds. Follow Steps 1 to 3 to set up your Bloglines account. Steps 4 – 9 are optional and cover how to subscribe to different types of feeds (podcasts, Flickr albums, etc)
  • See also a short video on YouTube on how to add feeds
  • Google Reader – You may prefer to set up an RSS aggregator in Google Reader. Tutorials include: Google Reader Tour, Google Reader in Plain English and these two videos

Step 1: Set up your own, personalized RSS feed reader. Learn about the difference between RSS feed readers, Bloglines, and Google Reader.

Step 2: Create a free “RSS aggregator” account from either Bloglines or Google Reader and subscribe to at least 5 newsfeeds to your reader. If you’re struggling to find some newsfeeds, you can use the ones listed below…

Sample newsfeeds

…don’t forget that the 25 Things also has a RSS feed, so you could subscribe to that too!

9th Thing — Finding RSS Feeds

(Magnifying glass by 3fold)

Now that you have a newsreader (your Bloglines or Google Reader account), you can begin adding other newsfeeds that interest you.

There are several ways you can locate newsfeeds:

  • When visiting your favorite websites — Look for RSS icons that indicate the website provides it. Often a feed icon will be displayed somewhere in the navigation bar of the site.
  • Use Bloglines’ Search Tool — Use the “Search for Feeds” option in the search box to locate RSS feeds you might be interested in.
  • Other Search tools that can help you find feeds:
    1. Topix.net — This search tool allows you to locate recent newsfeed items based upon keyword or phrase searching. The tool focuses specifically on news and media outlet RSS feeds for information, not weblogs.
    2. Syndic8.com — Syndic8 is an open directory of RSS feeds that contains thousands of RSS feeds that users have submitted.

Step 1: Explore some of the search tools noted above that can help you locate some news feeds.

Step 2: Create a post in your blog about this exercise. Don’t know what to blog about? Think about these questions:

  • What do you like about RSS and newsreaders?
  • How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your work or personal life?
  • Which method of finding feeds did you find easiest to use?
  • Which Search tool was the easiest for you?
  • Which was more confusing?
  • What kind of useful feeds did you find in your travels?
  • Or what kind of unusual ones did you find?
  • What other tools or ways did you find to locate newsfeeds?

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