What the heck is RSS Feed Reader and why are we talking about it? It’s a good question and one worthy of a little discussion.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Readers function as our eyes and ears online. While RSS actually has two major components, the reading side and the publishing side, RSS “Readers” focus on listening and monitoring that helps us stay informed and up-to-date on what’s going on in our world.

RSS Readers

An RSS reader is a tool that lets you aggregate your own online content by subscribing to webpages. Those webpages can be websites, blogs, an online journals or news sites.  When the author/site publishes new content, it gets routed directly to you and appears in your RSS Feed Reader as a new headline.  It’s like creating your own personalized magazine just for you with all your specific interests organized for easy viewing. Every morning, instead of searching for top headlines, the headlines that you are interested in come to you via your RSS reader. Pretty cool, right?

RSS Feed Reader Benefits

The benefits to using an RSS reader are huge. Once you set up your RSS “feeds”, you don’t have to spend countless hours searching for interesting topics or industry news.  Your RSS feed lets you browse the headlines of top industry publications, favorite authors or quirky and obscure topics and blogs. It lets you aggregate what’s important to you and filter out information in which you don’t have an interest or which you find to be irrelevant.

An RSS Feed Reader also gives you an opportunity to engage with thought leaders in your industry by commenting on their posts. Commenting on the post of a well-known author also has the added benefit of search engine optimization by connecting your name with the more well-known online personality. Additionally, staying on top of current events can spark great content ideas of your own that you can write about and share on your own blog.

RSS Feed Reader Tools

There are lots of RSS Feed Reader tools to choose from. Personally, I use Google Reader. It makes sense for me since I already use many of Google’s other tools, but you can also find many other RSS readers at Microsoft, Yahoo, and lots of other places. Here’s what my Google Reader Screen looks like. I have topics organized into folders.

The helpful folks at Mashable compiled a list of RSS tools to make it easier to find, review and select one that’s right for you.

Once you select the reader tool that’s right for you, you can start selecting people, places and resources to follow. When you find a website or blog that you like, simply click on the little orange button (that is sometimes plain or sometimes stylized and a different color) to add the website or blog to your RSS feed.

An RSS Feed is a fantastic organizational tool to manage information more effectively, leaving you more time to use all the great knowledge you now have to conquer the world.

RSS Feed Readers Rock
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