RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It provides an easy way to gather and display information from varied and multiple sources, including news stories, updates to websites, and new posts to blogs.
I’ve been told that RSS is a timesaver… a way to make me more efficient, and that’s something I would welcome any day. The problem that lies with me is that I guess I don’t understand how to effectively use RSS feeds. I’ve had to sign up for them in a few of my grad classes, and to be quite honest it just put me on sensory overload. I get a million emails a day (I may be exaggerating but it sure seems that way) that I can barely keep up with and now add looking at the RSS feeds and I can’t possibly keep on top of everything. It feels to me like when I purchase an item from my favorite store and they ask me if I want to be included on their email list so I’d get their latest offers. Of course I do! But then I do it again with my other favorite store… and my other favorite store… and you get the picture. The next thing I know my inbox is inundated with “junk mail” that I subscribed to because I wanted to get the latest news on the latest sales. This is how I feel with RSS feeds even though they don’t come through your email…. I must be doing something wrong!
I’ve decided to revisit this one more time and give it another shot. I think I need to be more selective in which websites I subscribe to so that I’m not overwhelmed too fast. So, my #1 goal is to determine which information I really want to be updated on and on top of. I decided to start with subscribing to my elementary school’s blog and build from there. When I searched for my elementary school name, I came upon some other interesting sites and blogs. I then subscribed to them. This was exciting! But then I remembered my dilemma with my favorite stores and thought I better put an end to it for now.
I definitely see the use for it when using blogging in the classroom. What a great way to keep everyone’s blogs and comments flowing freely in to one spot. I could definitely see using it in that capacity. However, as I’m typing this I’m looking at my other open tabs at the top of my screen. The Old Reader account that I just proudly set up this morning already has 127 new updates for me to peruse. Yikes! When do I have time to do that?
I appreciate the timeliness of the fast updates and the ability to only receive the feeds that I’m interested in. Another positive I see is that the content is modified to show just a portion of the text. This allows me to quickly peruse to see if I’d like to read the full article or not. I do see the positives in using RSS feeds if you have the ability to keep a handle on them, but I was already feeling overwhelmed again. I decided to go off on another tangent and Google “too many RSS feeds”. I came across a link at http://lifehacker.com/5983954/i-read-too-many-blogs-how-can-i-get-through-them-all. It gave me some great ideas for organizing my feeds. I won’t say I understand all of the recommendations but it is definitely setting me in the right direction. Here are a few of the suggestions:
- Eliminate blogs you don’t read a lot
- If there are too many blogs coming in from a particular site, see if there is a more limited feed
- Prioritize — tag the blogs you MUST read every day
- Read the short stuff now; Save the long stuff for later
- If a blog is over a month old, toss it
- Accept you’ll never get through everything!