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Start Using RSS Today!

What is RSS?

If the letters "RSS" look like alphabet soup to you, don't worry. It stands for "Really Simple Syndication," and it's a way that websites, bloggers, other media organizations and individuals can send out small or large chunks of information via "feeds" that show up in an RSS reader (there are lots of free ones out there), on a Google or Yahoo home page or in some email programs.

More importantly, RSS enables users to subscribe to data feeds easily, which lets them control the rate and amount of information coming to them online.

If you know what an XML feed is, then you already know what you need to know about RSS, but you can learn a lot more at this Wikipedia entry.

In early 2005, Microsoft's uber-blogger, Robert Scoble, made a bold assertion about RSS:

Sorry, if you do a marketing site and you don't have an RSS feed today you should be fired.

I'll say it again. You should be fired if you do a marketing site without an RSS feed.

Saying that RSS is only for geeks today is like saying in 1998 that the web was only for geeks.

While the delivery of this opinion was perhaps extreme, the man had a point and one that I was trying to make three years ago when I last wrote an article on the topic.

Brass tacks

Marketers and media folks who haven't woken up to web content syndication (through RSS or some other format) are, frankly, fighting the attention wars with stone knives and bearskins.

The uses of RSS are legion for they are many, and advance ever more rapidly. Here are three things that marketers ought to know about web syndication, either through RSS, Google's Atom or some other standard.

Author Notes:
Phil Gomes is a vice president with Edelman's Interactive Solutions and Me2revolution groups, working from the agency's offices in Los Angeles. Gomes is responsible for crafting the online engagement policies and standards for the agency and its clients, as well as serving as an in-house educator and counselor with regard to blogs, social media, and online communities. He is considered by most participants in the public relations profession to be the first in the field to start a blog-- August 2001.


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