Subscribe to the Graco Heart to Heart RSS feed! But what is RSS?

Do you like what you read on the Graco Heart to Heart blog? If so, there is an easier way to keep up with it: subscribe to our RSS feed!– but don’t worry if you aren’t tech savvy, we’ve got just the ticket to make you a resident expert in RSS!

For the tech savvy: The technical acronym for RSS is “Really Simple Syndication,” an XML format that was created to syndicate news, and be a means to share content on the web. Now, to geeks and techies that means something special, but for most people like you and me, what comes to mind is probably, “Uh, I don’t get it?”

The Oprah definition for RSS: “YOU get a story, YOU get a story, YOU GET A STORY!”  In Oprah speak, this stands for: a way for you to get a quick list of the latest story headlines from all of your favorite web sites and blogs in one place.

Suppose you have 50 sites and blogs that you like to visit regularly. Going to visit each website and blog everyday could take you hours. With RSS, you can “subscribe” to a website or blog, and get “fed” headlines from all of these 50 sites and blogs in one list. That way you can see what’s going on in minutes instead of hours. Definitely a time saver!

That one place where your RSS list is created is called an RSS Reader, and it gathers the headlines from the web sites and blogs you have subscribed to.

How to Use RSS

1. Get an RSS Reader – The first thing you’ll want to do to use RSS is to find an RSS Feed Reader.

There are many feed readers available with a variety of approaches and features – a good place to start is with some free and easy to use readers like Google Reader and Bloglines. Either one will do if you’re starting out. Both of these feed readers work a little like e-mail.

When you subscribe to feeds you’ll see that unread entries from the sites you’re tracking will be marked as bold. As you click on them you’ll see the latest update and can read it right there in the feed reader. You are given the option to click through to the actual site or move onto the next unread item – marking the last one as “read.”

The best way to learn how to use either Google Reader or Bloglines is to simply subscribe to some feeds and give it a go. Both have helpful help sections to get you up and running

2. Use RSS-Buttons – From there, any time you see an orange button  or anything like the heart shown above, it means that the site you are viewing almost certainly has an RSS feed that you can subscribe to.

In most cases it’s as simple as either copying and pasting the link associated with the button into your RSS Reader or clicking the button and following the instructions to subscribe using the feed reader of your choice.

To quickly and easily subscribe to RSS feeds, you’ll want to set up your browser to subscribe to a blog with your chosen feed reader by default.You can do this by going to the ‘preferences’ of your browser and choosing your feed reader.

3. Start Reading – Once you’ve done this and have subscribed to a few feeds you’ll begin to see unread items in your Feed Reader and you can start reading. Bookmark your reader and open that one page whenever you feel like catching up on your reading.

Still have questions? Leave us a comment and we will help out! Make sure and subscribe to our RSS feed here (or you can always subscribe to the Graco Blog by e-mail too).

Here’s where we got this information about RSS feeds:

* How to Explain RSS the Oprah Way
* ProBlogger: What is RSS?

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