Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a web feed in XML format used for web syndication, where a web feed is a special kind of web page designed to be read by a “feed reader” which automatically extracts content from a server and delivers it to you in an easily accessible manner when new content is available.
Why is this important? Any decent blog will support standard RSS format that is also supported by any decent reader.* What this means to you is that you, as a user, can subscribe to the blog, just as easy as you would to an e-mail newsletter, or an old-school news group in an old-school newsreader, and have all of the postings from all your favorite blogs ready and waiting for you seconds after you open your favorite feed reader. In other words, if you like Spend Matters, eSourcing Forum, Procurement Central, Supply Excellence, Vendor Management, or Sourcing Innovation, you can subscribe to it and get your content hot off the presses as soon as your favorite bloggers publish it.
There are a large number of RSS readers out there, and you should have no trouble finding one you like. The RSS Info page on blogspace lists over a dozen. Some browsers, such as my browser of choice Opera (since it was everything FireFox is before we had FireFox, even though it wasn’t free until recently), even have a simple RSS reader built in.
Now, if you’re a power reader, you probably know all this. But since a recent CNet blog post indicated that some statistics show that about 90 percent of the public has no idea what RSS is, I thought it be best to be safe than sorry and not only share the simple definition, but also provide you with direct links to the RSS feeds, since they can be tricky to find on some of these blogs. (If your browser supports feeds, just click on the link and the browser will recognize that it is an RSS feed.)
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* Note to authors: if your blog does not support RSS, maybe it’s time to upgrade.