Why I love news feeds (RSS)

Of all the “new” web technologies that’ve sprung up over the last few years, news feeds are by far my favourite.

They help me do my job, keep up with current affairs and stay up to date with my various hobbies and interests.

What are news feeds, you may ask

Sometimes called “web feeds“, news feeds are a way for sites to provide a list you can subscribe to, and then get automatic updates each time new content is added.

There are a number of different types, but the most popular are RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and Atom.

SOUNDS GREAT, How can I use them?

To subscribe to a feed you just need a “feed reader”. This can be an online tool or some software ou have on your machine – chances are you already have something you can use already.

Google offer 2 tools you can use; iGoogle and Google Reader. Both are free and you just need a Google account to set one up.

If you want software, PC users can use Outlook. Feedreader is a free piece of kit you can download as well. Most modern browsers will also allow you to subscribe to feeds too.

There are also loads of apps for smart-phone users as well.  I use Feeddler RSS on the iPhone and iPad. This has the advantage of using my Google Reader account to login and display the newsfeeds I’ve selected.

My preference is to use an online account, like Google Reader. This means I can access it from anywhere and only need to manage one set of feeds.

Most readers will also allow you to set up categories to help you sort and store your feeds, making it easy to find what you’re looking for.

How to subscribe

To subscribe to a feed, just look for the link. This is often flagged with the feed icon – to use, just click on the link and follow the instructions.

The BBC, Guardian and Telegraph all offer feeds. They are a good place to start: