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10 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With RSS

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First of all, what are RSS feeds? Simply put, RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. They're basically simple text files that, once submitted to feed directories, will allow subscribers to see content within a very short time after it's updated (sometimes as short as 30 minutes or less; it's getting faster all the time).

In other words, you don't have to visit websites to get the latest updates - RSS feeds bring the content to you. For more information on the basics of RSS feeds, I invite you to read my articles titled How RSS Feeds Work, or The Best Feed Readers on the Web. Once you're all the way up to speed on RSS, you'll realize that there's so many different ways that you can use RSS feeds to help you in your Web searching and daily life...and here's ten that I've come up with for you.

10 Ways To Use RSS Feeds

  1. If you're a Yahoo fan, you can get all the content you want delivered straight to your Yahoo homepage via RSS feeds.
  2. Any MySpace profile that has a blog also has an RSS feed. Instead of logging all the way in to MySpace's somewhat wonky site, just subscribe to your favorite blogs and read them in your feed reader.
  3. If you love Google News, but need more specialized news, you can create a specialized Google News alert that's delivered to you (you guessed it!) via an RSS feed.
  4. YouTube users will especially appreciate this one: you can follow your favorite director, channel, or keyphrase via RSS feeds. For instance, say you're especially interested in Family Guy clips. This is what your feed would look like:

    www.youtube.com/rss/tag/family+guy.rss.

    Just drop that in your feed reader via the Subscribe tab and you're good to go.
  5. Looking for something on Craigslist? Every category has an RSS feed, and you can even program your parameters. For example, say you're looking for a leather couch between $400 and $600 - you can specify that within the Furniture category and have results delivered to you.
  6. Any tag in the social bookmarking site del.icio.us,whether that may be freeware, popular, Apple, etc., has an RSS feed that you can subscribe to.
  7. Fans of Digg will appreciate that any user, tag, or featured page (such as the homepage) can be subscribed to via an RSS tag.
  8. All you foodies out there will love the convenience of getting recipes and tips delivered right to you: the Food Network has an RSS feed titled "Food Network Highlights" that brings the very best of this stellar site to you.
  9. If you're looking for a job, you can craft your own RSS feeds at Monster.com, or use one of their own preprogrammed RSS feeds instead. To craft your own, simply do a search with your specific needs, and then subscribe to the search results via your feed reader of choice.
  10. Yes, even the White House has its own RSS feed; you'll get updates on White House news, presidential speeches, and much more.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, folks! There's so much that you can do with RSS feeds - I know that they've really made my search life much easier.

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