Why RSS Feeds Are Still Awesome

The lowly RSS feed has been around a long time. More than 20 years to be exact.

Originally dubbed RDF Site Summary—the RDF stood for Resource Description Framework, it was introduced in March 1999. It evolved into RSS, which now stands for either Rich Site Summary or my preference, Really Simple Syndication.

It’s essentially a geeky way for websites to publish frequently updated information, such as blog entries, news headlines, or episodes of audio and video series like this very podcast you’re listening to. When publishers of content use RSS feeds, they allow anyone with an RSS reader to subscribe to their feed, so whenever they publish someone new it will automatically show up.

Forget the techno-speak and just think of it as the ability to create your own virtual newspaper or magazine. You can literally subscribe to as many of these feeds as you want to, depending on your appetite for content.

I blame Google for a big decline in the popularity of RSS, when they killed off their free Google Reader software in 2013. I guess they thought RSS wasn’t going to be around much longer, and wasn’t worth supporting.

Feedly RSS feed

Personally, I adopted another product called Feedly and I’ve been happy with it ever since. I use their paid version which is $5 a month which I find well worth it. There are a bunch of other alternatives, such as one that I also use sometimes called Panda.

I subscribe to many business publications and blogs. I benefit from keeping up with relevant news and articles related to marketing, as well as topics specific to some of the industries my marketing clients serve. Feedly makes it easy to quickly scan through dozens of feeds. I do this regularly to bookmark useful headlines to read later or share on social media.

I think most people in business can benefit from curating information pertinent to their role. RSS feeds are still a very effective way to do this, even if the technology seems a little dated.

Note: This post originally appeared on the Brand On! podcast.