In this post I will tell you what RSS is, why you need it, and how to set it up.
Imagine being able to see your favorite blog posts, podcasts, YouTube videos, news, and any other kind of Internet media from your outlets of choice in one single, solidified, consistent feed. This is what RSS allows you to do. You can think of RSS as a sort of Twitter feed, but instead of only following other Twitter users, you can follow pretty much anything on the Internet.
Indeed almost every blog, forum, YouTube channel, and news source has an RSS feed. What this means is that whenever something is added to their website or channel, if you have chosen to add it to your list of followed websites, you’ll see it pop up as well in your RSS app of choice.
How do I set it up?
The beauty of RSS is that it’s an open format, not belonging to anyone in particular. This means that there’s plenty of choice and a plethora of different apps allowing you to subscribe to and read RSS feeds. My favorite is an app for iOS and macOS called Reeder. On Android, I particularly like the design and usability of Palabre. On Windows, NewsFlow is likely your best bet. For this post I’ll use Reeder on Mac, but all apps are virtually identical for the purpose of what I’m going to be doing here.
After you have downloaded any one of the aforementioned apps, let’s assume you want to add this blog to your reader, so that posts will show up in your feed. Firstly, locate the link to the website’s RSS feed. In this case, it’s in the top navigation bar, and it’s this link. Copy that to your clipboard. Then, navigate to your RSS app and select “Add Subscription,” or that app’s equivalent function.
In the screen that pops up, simply paste the link you copied, and press enter or “Done.” That’s it! You will now see new posts from this blog on your RSS reader whenever you open it. Repeat this process for any website you might want to see.
Here’s some feeds for you of websites kind of like mine but better: MacStories, Daring Fireball, Ctrl blog, David Smith.
Appendix: Syncing your Feed Between Devices
Everything we’ve done so far is cool and all, but it’s limited to one device. In this day and age, where everything is synced between devices, wouldn’t it be nice if we could sync our feed as well? We can! With Feedly.
Quite simply, sign up for a Feedly account. Then, click on the “Add Content” link on the bottom left corner. From there, add RSS links much in the same way we did before. Then, in your RSS app, log in to your Feedly account. Not all apps support this function, but the ones I have linked to earlier do. You’re now set! Whenever you read something on one device, it will be marked as read on another. It’s pretty great.
I hope you find RSS useful. Let me know if there is anything I have missed.