Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What Is RSS? News Syndication And Subscription Explained In Simple Words: 3' Min Video

Sponsored Links

Want to finally find out what RSS really is without needing to read a technical treatise? Tired of feeling left out of the RSS party? Interested in spending less than 5 minutes to understand what RSS is all about, why it is so great and why you do not want to do anymore without it?

Image credit: Rogers Cadenhead - Workbench

Lee Lefever outdoes himself in the best creative spirit one can hope to find on the Web today. In true "Sharewood" spirit Lee takes you on fun visual journey into understanding what RSS really is, without EVER using a technical word.

"There are two types of Internet users, those that use RSS and those that don't. This video is for the people who could save time using RSS, but don't know where to start."

This mini-video tutorial is also a must-watch for all those of you interested in understanding how great video can be produced with next to no money but with plenty of creative juice. In my very humble opinion, this video work best exemplifies the creative spirit and the grassroots low-cost approach that all small independent publishers should take when approaching the challenge of producing new high-value, viral content.

Lee and Sachi have understood this to perfection, and while they may not be the first ones to have used this cinematic approach, they do a fantastic in further popularizing it and making it accessible for everyone on a difficult to explain topic.

Journalism and media schools should have this video on their syllabus!

RSS in Plain English - video

Full English Text Transcription

The Internet has problems.

Technorati says there are 50 million weblogs, and as you can see, it's going up.

This is overwhelming.

Today's show is about a new and efficient way to keep up with all this cool stuff that's happening on the Internet.

I'm going to talk about two ways that you can keep up with what's happening on the Web.

There's the old slow way - Boo. Then, there's the new and fast way - Yay! - Here's the difference between the new and the old way.

Old way

This is you, and here are your favorite websites. You log on to your computer, and you're looking for something new. You go out to your favorite blogs. Anything new? No. You go out to your favorite news sites. Anything new? Nope. Every time you look for something new and its not there, you've wasted valuable time. This is the old way.

New way

Now, let's consider the new and fast way, which is simply taking these arrows and turning them the other direction. This means the new things from blogs and new things from your news sites come to you instead. It's like Netflix compared to the video store.

So, what we're talking about is using a single website that becomes your home for reading all the new stuff that's coming from your favorite websites.

There are two steps to getting started [with RSS].

1) The first step is you need a home for reading new posts.

This is a website called a reader [RSS reader].

It is free and all you need is an account. I use a site called Google Reader. It looks like this.

My favorite sites are listed on the left, and on the right I can scroll through all the new posts from my favorite sites in a single place. So, to complete step one, you need to sign up for a reader. Google Reader, Bloglines, Newsgator, My Yahoo! are good places to start.

2) Step number two, is to set up a connection between your reader and your favorite websites. Setting up these connections is called subscribing, and it's really important. Nearly every blog and news site offers the ability for you to subscribe so updates in these sites show up here in your reader.

To set up these subscriptions, you just need to look for funny little icons. This is the standard one using the standard orange color. You may also see these. These little icons say, "Hey look! Subscribe to me! I can save you time!" Once you find one of these buttons on your favorite site, click on it and the page that appears will give you everything you need to subscribe to it.

After you click that button, one of two types of pages will appear.

a) This is one that provides one-click access to subscribing in your reader.

b) The other page you're likely to see looks like this - with code on it. If you see this page, copy the address at the top of the page, go to your reader and look for a link that says "Add Subscription" or "Add Feed." Click on that, and paste the address into your reader.

So, once you've added your subscriptions and the connection is there, new posts begin arriving in your reader and you'll see why this is the new, faster way to read the web.

It's addictive, so be careful!

A quick recap.

There are two things you need to do:

Number one is go sign up for a reader.

Number two, go to your favorite websites, click on the icon and subscribe.

Original video by Lee and Sachi Lefever - first published on CommonCraft Show on April 24th 2007 as "RSS in Plain English"


Lee and Sachi Lefever on Robin Good's motorbike riding like crazy through the streets of Rome - 2006

Robin Good - Lee Lefever - [ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
2010-08-29 14:30:24

Big John

wow excellent post. I realy apreciate the info

2008-02-04 06:03:41

John Smith

Feking brilliantly explained. WELL DONE. I may link into this video is this OK?

2007-06-22 01:30:32


Yes thank you so much for your explanation. So simple, no fluff and to the point in plain english.
Much appreciated.

2007-04-27 21:31:40


Oh my god is that f-ing funny! But also very informative. No one else could explain RSS to me but you'all made it so simple.

A thousand thanks!

Gary Z

posted by Robin Good on Thursday, April 26 2007, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

Search this site for more with 








    Curated by

    New media explorer
    Communication designer


    POP Newsletter

    Robin Good's Newsletter for Professional Online Publishers  



    Real Time Web Analytics