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RSS Technology and The New Information Age

This is a guest post by Al who runs a reference guide online.

Gone are the days when you needed to pick up a newspaper to get your news, or wait for the 6 o’clock news to find out what’s happening in your town or around the world. Now more than ever, up-to-the-minute technology is fusing into our lives, enabling us to not only choose when to read out news, but what news to read and where to read them.

Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary feeds, more commonly knows as RSS feeds, is in great part, the source of that fusion. An application initially created for Netscape back in 1999, it has evolved into one of the most readily available methods of obtaining information quickly and easily.

In simplest terms, RSS feeds give the user a way to go to their favorite websites, subscribe to their content, and access their information as it is updated, setting it up in a simple, readable and accessible format, either on their desktop or on their browser. Some of us can’t honestly remember web browsing without the ability to subscribe to RSS feeds, and it’s hard to imagine it being taken away.The RSS feed system, initially created as a tiny, seemingly insignificant companion piece to a popular browser, is now an indispensible tool in our everyday Internet life.

One thing that’s become increasingly evident is the role that RSS feeds — more specifically, online aggregated news feeds — have played in the growth of technology and, more specifically, information exchange. The use of RSS feeds grows as the demand for newspapers as a whole dwindles, and it makes sense; after all, why get dated information from a newspaper when you can get updates every minute or so on your computer?

Which is why sites like Techmeme and News Tracker are becoming more and more popular. These automated sites are linked to RSS feeds all over the Internet. When the feeds are updated, so is the page — it’s as simple as that, yet it is so much more vital than what its simplicity implies. For those of us that are subscribed to numerous feeds, it becomes hard to go through all of our updates and read.

RSS aggregated news sources eliminate the work of having to go through all of your live bookmarks and look for breaking news; these sites already have those feeds condensed for you, in an accessible, easy to use website. The difference between these sites and social bookmarking sites such as del.ic.iou.s is that RSS aggregated sites are automated, so they give you up-to-the-minute information, when you need it. The automation factor, in conjunction to the simplicity and accesibility found in these RSS aggregated news source websites is what makes them such an amazing new addition to the world of web surfing.

From its humble beginnings as just another browser application, RSS feeds have evolved by leaps and bounds, into the future of information exchange worldwide.

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