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“What’s an RSS feed, and why should I care?”

Good questions. First, here’s why you should care.

Unlike getting website updates or ezines by email, RSS feeds give you absolute, 100% complete control over the situation.

You don’t have to reveal your email address. If you want to stop receiving content, you don’t have to request to be “taken off the list.”

One click, and poof… the subscription is gone.

Plus, since there’s no email address involved, there’s no way a publisher can sell, rent or give away the means to contact you.

That’s right… no more spam, viruses, phishing, or identity theft. And best of all, no reason to put yourself at the mercy of the publisher’s intentions.

You won’t need to suffer through the legalese in the privacy policy (if there is one) looking for loopholes that will send you deeper into inbox hell. No more setting up dummy Hotmail accounts “just in case.”

Again, if you don’t like the content, you can make it disappear as fast as you can change a TV channel. With just one click.

Pretty cool, huh?

“That is cool! Umm… What’s RSS?”

All right! Now we’re ready to get to that part.

RSS is a simply an Internet technology standard that allows busy people to receive updates to web-based content of interest.

You might have figured that much out by now. But basically, that’s the essence of an RSS feed – you subscribe and then receive new content automatically in your feed reader.

If you actually want to know how RSS works, click here.

“What’s a feed reader?”

You may already be using a form of feed reader, and not even realize it. If you use personalized home page services like My Yahoo or My MSN, you’ve got RSS capabilities built in. That’s how syndicated content like news, weather and stock quotes appears on your personal page. You can also add content from any blog or other site that uses RSS to provide updates.

Other web-based tools are primarily dedicated to feed reading only. One of the most popular web-based feed readers at this point is Bloglines, and it’s also free and easy to get started with.

If you use the Firefox browser, you can also receive RSS feeds from your tool bar by using the Live Bookmarks function. The next version of Internet Explorer will add this feature as well.

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