What are RSS Feeds?
An RSS feed is a special type of file on the Internet which you can view in your browser just like a normal web page. Click one of the feed links on the left to see what it looks like (click your back button to return here).
However you'll notice that the feed pages are oddly formatted and not much to look at. That's because feeds aren't really designed to be viewed like this. Instead RSS feeds are normally viewed with an RSS reader.
RSS readers come in two common types:
(1) A software application you install on your computer.
(2) An online service such as Google Reader
We recommend Google Reader as a good way to get started. It requires no software - you just create a free account and login.
So What Do They Do?
The two most common uses for RSS feeds are:
(1) Subscribe to your favourite websites, blogs, etc. Every time you login to your reader, you'll see notifications and brief summaries of new content published at the sites you've subscribed to. Much easier than visiting them all looking for updates!
(2) Syndicate content for your website or blog. This is a more advanced option for people with their own website or blog. There are various tools available on the web that allow you to add content from RSS feeds to your own web pages. For example, you could have a small section on your page that shows the latest Courier headlines with a picture and link to the current edition. If you don't know how to do this, talk to your web designer or get Googling.
You can also subscribe to individual forums:
Feeds from invited local bloggers.