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Confused? Here’s some information about what a “news feed” is. (Adapted from this article.)

What is RSS?

RSS is an acronym for “really simple syndication.” It’s a stupid name, and there is movement afoot to substitute a better term, like “site feed,” or “syndication.” The technology is a few years old, but it’s really taken off in the past few years.

The idea behind syndication is pretty straightforward. It’s a pain to check a whole bunch of websites to see which has updated. If you want to keep up with Blue in VA, Virginia Political Line, and Shaun Kenney every day, it’s no good to have to check back periodically and scroll down the page until you can figure out where you left off. Syndication brings those blog entries to you, notifying you whenever there’s something new to read on one of those websites.

Syndication doesn’t just tell you when a site has been updated, but actually provides you with the new material. There are blogs that I read daily but that I haven’t actually visited in my web browser for months — their latest blog entires come to me.

This technology was popularized by blogs, but syndication is in wide use by many websites. Every major media outlet (like your local newspaper’s website) — and most minor ones — have a feed for their site.

Syndication Software

You need a special piece of software in order to subscribe to these feeds. Yes, having an e-mail client and a web browser open all the time already seems like a little much but, trust me, it’s worth it. This program is known as a “news reader,” an “aggregator,” or a “feed reader.”

NetVibes is a great (free!) online service to allow you to subscribe to news feeds and read them right in your web browser. It’s simple to use and there’s no difficult process for signing up.

Click the button below to add this blog to your NetVibes page. If you don’t have a page, it will be created conveniently and instantly for you when you click.