Before I share some of the more complex web monitoring things that I do I thought it might be best to write a post going back to the beginning to explain this beast that is RSS. If you will embrace it and get creative it will change the way you do business! I GUARANTEE IT!
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is a notification system used to alert subscribers to changes made to their favorite websites, blogs, news sites, and much much more. RSS allows is an excellent way to manage more data than a normal person should be able to consume. Here is another video from The Common Craft show explaining RSS.
So are you ready to run out and sign-up for a feed-reader service yet? The video recommends some pretty good options, but I’m still biased.
So why Netvibes?
I get asked all the time how I manage to keep up with news, blogs, the Braves, and still manage to do my job and go to class. There are many RSS aggregators and services, but I love Netvibes because it allows me to organize multiple things into an organized homepage approach. From one location I can view email, check the weather, stay on top of Facebook updates, manage twitter, read my favorite blogs, read the news, and monitor all things related to Wofford. What makes Netvibes, in my opinion, better than iGoogle or My Yahoo, is the many widgets and the absolute freedom to customize your page layout however is best for you. Yahoo and Google have some nice widgets, but Netvibes provides you with options to customize colors, adjust page layouts, organize into multiple tabs, choose custom settings for each feed, and much more. Instead of trying to explain it how about I just show you.
It might be easier to follow if you watch full screen. This is my first attempt to make a video tutorial, I hope it’s not too bad? Now that I know I hope to make many more in the future.
From what I have seen, Pageflakes looks almost like a Netvibes clone so it might be worth giving a test run. I know Pageflakes has made attempts to bring educators aboard.
Other RSS Resources:
- RSS Tutorial by Wizard Creek - A very extensive and detailed tutorial to all things RSS. A little overkill, but still a great resource.
- All About RSS by Fagan Finder- An extensive explanation of RSS from a non-technical perspective.
- RSS entry at Wikipedia- You can probably guess what’s all at this entry. Extensive History, Examples, Incompatibilities and References.