Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Newsfeed Basics - 1 What is a newsfeed?

Newsfeeds are a convenient system for accessing and reading a wide variety of frequently updated content on the Internet (i.e. news, bulletin boards, blogs, etc.). The best and most modern content providers on the Internet make their news content available as newsfeeds. Newsfeeds are a "pull system" - subscribers get only the newsfeeds that they have requested and they can read them at their convenience. Newsfeeds are less contaminated with the spam, popups and other unintended consequences than many of the other online news sources.

Newsfeed reading systems enable you to gather the newsfeeds you like into one central location. Then you can quickly see what is new and interesting in all of the newsfeeds to which you are subscribed. These newsfeeds can be read either through your web browser software or through special newsfeed reader software.

How to recognize when a site offers a newsfeed ??

Look for small rectangular graphics, often at the bottom of the page. Originally, these were small orange boxes that identified the format used to create the newsfeed.
rss logo xml logo atom logo

(The sample graphics above are not hyperlinked.) On a page where newsfeeds are available these graphics will be hyperlinked to the newsfeeds. If you click on the graphics you will see just a page of unreadable code because your web browser software alone cannot display the newsfeed in a readable form.

How to subscribe to a newsfeed ??

Get the Internet address for the newsfeed by right-clicking on the graphic (Mac equivalent = Ctrl-click), then click on Copy Link Location. Then paste the location for the newsfeed into whatever system you choose for viewing the newsfeed (see upcoming article).

Recently this has proliferated with additional graphics that represent various systems used to read the newsfeeds. On a page where a newsfeed is available clicking on these graphics will take you to the Internet sites where you can register for a free account and subscribe to the newsfeeds that you want to read. (These sample images are not hyperlinked.)

The next article in this series will describe some of the systems you can use to read these newsfeeds.

Future posts in this series: Tips for Bloggers.

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