The FEED lesson..once and for all.

One of the things I like to do most is read blogs. Over the last year and a half, I have read so many blogs that it has become a real chore keeping up with my favorite reads as new content was added. Enter the “feed”.

I receive numerous questions regarding how I use RSS that I thought I would interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to share what I know. (Disclaimer: I am the IT customer from hell and receive continued help and support from Mr. Luggage. Read: I can’t help you with anything other than what I am about to write about in this post.)

A site feed alerts a reader when content on that site is updated. Can you imagine the time it would take to individually click on hundreds of blogs (yes, I read over 200 blogs now) every day to check if my favorite people have added new content? The horror! With the feeds, I simply glance down my feed list and can tell exactly who has been naughty and who has been nice. (I’m just like Santa in that way!)

I know that a lot of blog owners look at new content via the “blog rolls” they have on their blogs. Nice, but trust me on this one: you’ll thank me once you figure out how to use the FEEDS! Give it a shot with a couple of blogs!

First step? You should be using Internet Explorer 7 to browse. Now I know this will start a huge debate amongst yourselves on who makes a better burger (browser), but honestly, I got no problems with it and I love it. If you’re not running version 7, the earlier versions do not support RSS. There are ways around this, which I will mention later, but since it’s free, why not update today? You can search for the download by checking “Windows Update”. From the browser, open TOOLS, WINDOWS UPDATE. This will take you to a webpage where you can get the update you need.

In IE7 (Internet Explorer 7), the “RSS BUTTON” is displayed in the upper right side of your screen. The button is square and bright orange, with a dot and two semi-circle lines. When the site feed on a blog is enabled, the button will be orange. If the blog owner (this next item boggles my mind...I don’t understand why anyone would not enable their feed) chooses not to enable their site feed, the button will be grey.


Click on the orange button, and you will be asked if you would like to add this site (the blog you are reading) to your feed list. Yes! Once you complete this step, the blog feed will be added to a list near your ‘Favorites’. You’ll notice a list for “Favorites” and a list for “Feeds”.


You can even set up multiple folders to organize your feeds! If you read a lot of feeds, this is totally helpful. For example, I organize the feeds by my top favorites, my design team etc. Once the feeds are listed, you can right-click on BLOG FEEDS and highlight “refresh all”. It takes a few minutes depending on how many feeds there are to refresh, but slowly, you will see the blogs with updated content turn bold. The bold blogs have been updated since you last visited them and the normal text blogs have not. See how handy this is?

Here’s my routine. Every morning when I wake up, I refresh the feed list and then take a walk to complete my “chores”. After a few minutes I come back and voila! I’ve got neat stuff to read. Don’t you love reading neat stuff? To read the blogs, I click on the BOLD titles and see the feeds. The pages look a little naked and plain…but here’s the good part: if you see something you like, you click on the blog title and then go directly into the blog.

Some blog owners elect not to include pictures that they post on their blog in their feeds. This is a “partially enabled” feed AKA “a pain in the ass”. Since I am running around doing so many things at one time, I don’t usually like to enter those blogs. Why? It takes extra time. Unless you are an award winning writer and you’re able to grab my ADD personality in a few short sentences, I am not coming into your blog today. Check your blog settings: FULL feed is nice.

So all this is great and fun but you’re not using IE7? Never fear. There are numerous FREE...yes! Free RSS readers available. Programs like “Google Reader”, “RSS Reader” and “FEED Reader” are all free and require only a short download. There is a very helpful download rating website that you should check out if you’re going to make the decision to download a free reader. Check this link to see where other users rank the performance of their downloads. You’ll be happy you did!

My new super computer initially emailed every update to me. Do you subscribe to Illustration Friday? Can you imagine an email every time someone posted a project on that site? It was terrible and I was miserable. Luckily, a few short clicks and I was able to turn off the email notification for RSS. I’m happy glancing down the feed list to see the updates.

I hope this helps you understand the feed process! I’d love to hear your process and about your success with using Feeds!

Next time we’ll visit why people using “Blogger” should allow open ended URL’s the ability to comment on their blogs… ha!

See you again soon!