RSS Feeds

By samooresamoore (1251644898|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

I will introduce the idea behind RSS feeds and why it should matter to you.

RSS Feeds

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RSS feeds are basically a tool used to track frequently update information. The beauty of RSS feeds is the ability to have all the information delivered to one convenient site. I was exposed to RSS feeds in BIT 200 and to be honest, was not very impressed. I found that if I forgot to check my account for a few days, I'd have over 400 new feeds and not even know where to start. Granted, I was using Google Reader as opposed to my current site, Bloglines, but still, the idea just seemed to be ineffective.

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Fast forward one year to BIT 330 and its a whole different story. I have learned to search sites specifically for Blogs and RSS feeds, as opposed to an RSS post, which may not be relevant to me. Last year I would go to my favorite site and look for the little orange RSS square and add the feed to my Google Reader. The problem with this is that I choose sites like ESPN and Wall Street Journal and simply choose the RSS feed for the top headlines (think how many times these sites update a day?). This time around, I began to get feeds on specific topics I'm interested in or from author's opinions I actually value, rather than entire websites. I've started using Bloglines, Google Blog, and Technorati to search for blog feeds specific to my interested topic. Although I enjoy keeping up with the most recent news articles, I think subscribing to individual blogs may be more effective. Moreover, I've explored Yahoo! Directory to get updates on certain certain categories.

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An interesting quirk some blog sites offer is the ability to view recent trends for that search. Blogpulse, in particular, offers a nice trend graph. This feature is cool, but not sure how applicable it is. I guess it may be neat to know when certain searches became popular and observe the trend line. Additionally, Blogs.com offers a fun feature that allows you to view the "Top Ten _____ Blogs". For someone who enjoys getting distracted and jumping from site to site aimlessly on the internet (but never in BIT 330), I thought this was a cool feature that could definitely waste 30 minutes when studying at the library.

So what does all this mean? RSS feeds are just another resource the internet offers and one that I would recommend to anyone. Regardless of how frequently you would use it, or what you would use it for, RSS feeds provide information to people in ways you would have never imagined 10 years ago and will continue to innovate in the information retrieval industry.

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