Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds are an XML format that was created to syndicate news, and be a means to share content on the Web. Stephanie Quilao at Back in Skinny Jeans wrote was is still today one of the best and simplest posts to explain how RSS works. She writes:
Suppose you have 50 sites and blogs that you like to visit regularly. Going to visit each website and blog everyday could take you hours. With RSS, you can “subscribe” to a website or blog, and get “fed” all the new headlines from all of these 50 sites and blogs in one list, and see what’s going on in minutes instead of hours. What a time saver!
By now, marketers should know that what people are doing with RSS is essentially saying - send me your material. This is not a way to push out content into mail boxes. Strangely enough, I still get that odd and alarming question.
FeedBurner is the service that delivers my RSS feeds. I know of no other general RSS metric and you can see the chicklet displayed on the sidebar of this blog. FeedBurner was acquired by Google last July. While my feeds have grown from to a peak of 1,740, these past several weeks the swings in RSS counts have varied by as many as 400 from one day to another. What is so special about the variance, we might never know. This is worse than mood swings, which is remarkable from a tool run by algorithms.
But as you, like Mr. Slee, wonder what your mysterious butler Mr. Google is up to, you're in for a surprise:
But Mr. Google did not attack me with a knife, or bite me in the neck. Nothing so dramatic. He simply looked over at my scribbled notes and sighed a world-weary sigh.
- You don't understand do you sir?
- What do you mean Google? I understand everything now.
- Really? This document here? And what does that matter if no one reads it? And who decides whether anyone can come here to view it? Exactly how do you propose to publicize your absurd opinions if not through me?