I’m an RSS Addict. Here’s why:

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RSS Feeds, what's the big deal?

I’m sure many of you have heard the term “RSS” right? Well, it stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and my first few years of blogging and web design I completely ignored it. It wasn’t until 6 months ago I realized the power and fun behind RSS feeds. I noticed that all my favorite websites, forums, news portals, and blogs had them but for some reason, I didn’t care to click on them or learn about it. I sort of knew what they were about, meaning I could use some sort of RSS reader to view the blog. Why would I want to do that when I can just visit the website every day? I had my routine of visiting about 5-6 websites every single day and I was happy with that. But then it hit me…

I kept hearing all this hype about Netvibes and Google Reader. So, like most people, I ignored it the first 20 times I scanned past it in the news articles I was reading. But I eventually wandered over to Netvibes and decided to give it a try. After about 15 minutes I was addicted like a giddy little web nerd.

For those who don’t know, Netvibes is basically a “start page” that works best when loading up right when you start your web browser. It essentially will give you all the content you want in one place without having to go to all those websites. So I started adding “widgets” and feeds. And before I knew it, I had an entire page filled with calendars, to do lists, news from my favorite sites, the latest forum posts, my myspace comments, movie listings, weather, digg top stories, etc. The list goes on and on and just about every web 2.0 site out there has an RSS feed which you can add to your Netvibes page.

So now, when I start up I see this:

netvibes for jeff!

You can click it to get a larger view. You can see what kind of blogs/widgets I have going on in my Netvibes.

This is a huge convenience that I never even knew about. I can get updated on all my favorite blogs pretty much immediately after they post. And I can just read them from one place. If I care to comment, I’ll click on the article stub and visit the site. There are so many other things I can probably do with Netvibes, but I’m just getting my hands dirty right now.

To start your own Netvibes page, go to www.netvibes.com and click “register now” on the left side panel. Fill in your details and all that. When you’re logged in, you can start adding your RSS feeds! I’ll give you the link to the Go Mediazine RSS feed to help get you started. You can go there, and copy the URL and click the “add feed” button on the left side of your Netvibes page. But to make it even easier, there is a little +Netvibes button you can click to automatically add it to your Netvibes page. Cool huh?

So I’ve compiled a short list of my favorite sites that I subscribe to via my Netvibes page.

Mashable – Social Networking News
Bittbox – Lots of nice vector freebies
Freelance Switch – Some great articles about freelancing
Real Cavs Fans - Forum about my beloved Cleveland Cavaliers
Hydro 74 – Amazing illustrator Joshua Smith
Digg – Popular News
Chore Buster – My fiance and I delegate household chores this way
Clicky – Web Analytics 2.0
Google Calendar
Cleveland Browns – Latest news for the Cleveland Browns
Absolute Punk – Latest punk music news
Design Meltdown – Blog about design trends
Snap 2 Objects – Some cool links and resources for designers

Those are a few of my favorites, but I’m sure you have your own list of frequently visited sites. Just search around your favorite sites and look for that little RSS icon with the macaroni noodles. You’ll be surprised what you can do with them! I encourage all of our readers to subscribe to our feed through your choice of the many popular RSS Readers out there. Or you can even get the feeds sent right to your email (see the form below). That’s even more of a convenience (for me at least! I have Thunderbird open all day).

Anyway, I gotta get back to helping Kim (my fiance) set up her Netvibes page with all sorts of Bunny forums!

About the Author, Jeff Finley

I'm a partner at Go Media, a Cleveland web design and development firm. We also specialize in print design and branding. I started Weapons of Mass Creation Fest and wrote the book Thread's Not Dead, teaching artists and designers how to start a clothing company. In my spare time, I write songs and play drums in Campfire Conspiracy. I'm a happy husband and an aspiring b-boy and lucid dreamer.

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