This blog uses RSS (Really Simple Syndication) to deliver new posts and comments to subscribers. Unfortunately, many people don’t seem to know how to take advantage of RSS.
Why do we use RSS?
The previous solution to maintain a subscriber list was to have people provide me with their emails, I would keep a list, and every time I wrote a new article, I would send a copy to everyone on the list. This was a lot of work for me, and ultimately it dragged down the whole writing process. There were more people who wanted to read what I had to say than there were people who wanted to give me their email address, and it was a pain every time someone changed their mind. It was far better than having to print everything out and mail it, but it still was a system with drawbacks for everyone. RSS eliminates the need for you to give your email address to anyone, and it removes the whole process of maintaining a subscriber list.
For a publisher using a tool like WordPress.com, the process is really simple. They ask me if I want to add an RSS feed, and I say Yes. I’m not sure what is going on behind the scenes, and I don’t really care as long as it solves the problem.
Once that is done, anyone can subscribe to my RSS feed using any RSS reader. If you want to be a subscriber, RSS is really simple but not quite intuitive. Let’s go through the process in Microsoft Outlook.
An RSS feed is treated by Outlook much like an email account. Select View Accounts from the Tools menu, and go to the RSS tab. Click on New, and enter the feed URL. Note that the URL for this blog is https://abcorwin.wordpress.com/, but the RSS feed URL is https://abcorwin.wordpress.com/feed/ .
Shortly after you do this, you should see a new folder in Outlook’s Personal Folders\RSS Feeds\ called Rust Never Sleeps. If you open it, it will contain the entries from this blog, and new entries will appear shortly after they are published.
If you get tired of my drivel, all you have to do to stop this is to delete the RSS feed entry that you created above. The entries will stop coming immediately.
Note the structural difference. With RSS, you have a tool that goes out and gets what you want to read. With an email list, you get whatever the sender (or anyone else that gets the list) decides to send you. RSS puts you in control.