Why Rookies need to use an RSS Reader

Do you know what RSS is? RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS (originally RDF Site Summary) is nothing more than a web feed format to publish frequently updated works, such as blogs, news, audio or video, but in a standardized format. An RSS document is often referred as a feed, and includes text  (full or summarized)and meta-data (publishing dates, author, etc). The standard XML file format allows the information to be published once and viewed on a variety of applications.

Why is this important for you as a Creative? If you want to keep up to date with your favorite sites, there’s no need for you to go to each site every day. You can subscribe to it’s feed and have the application or your browser of choice let you know when the blog has been updated. You need to make as much of your time as you can, and browsing it’s fun but often you can get derailed from the task at hand when browsing. It has happened to me plenty of times: I start looking for something in particular, and then end up browsing for a little while. I subscribe because if I stumble to a page that has content that I want to keep updated of, it’s done by Safari for me. Of course, now we have Facebook, Twitter and Google+ (to name a few) that also can keep you updated on relevant content.

For me, those channels help me be aware of new and different content from the blogs I’m subscribed to. For example, I have folders set for news as follows: Design, Foodies, Mac and Pics. Each of those folders have about 15 feeds each with the best sites that offer me news and updates on all those subjects. I get the news fast, and I scan the feeds to see on what do I click on to actually go to the site and read the article. Much better than browsing one site at the time to get to know what’s going on.

For the PC you can use Feed Demon (free), Awasu (free – $95 for the Professional Edition).

For the Mac you can use NewsFire ($5.99), NetNewsWire (free ad supported and $14.95 ad-free), Vienna RSS (free) and Reeder ($9.99).

Most of the mac applications offer a companion app (in most cases, with in-app syncing) for the iPad and iPhone. If you would rather not download an additional app, try  Safari (free), or Firefox (free) with many of its Add-ons – and Google Reader.

My personal choice is Safari. I’m into minimizing and using the least applications to do a job. I tried NetNewsWire for a few months, with the iPhone app companion, but I noticed that I don’t read feeds other than my desktop. I do from time to time, but that’s when I get my news through Twitter.

As you know, there are lists everywhere about feeds and subscriptions, so these are the ones that I found the most complete:

So do you have to choose an RSS Reader or use an app that you already have? That’s entirely up to you. Try different settings, and when you least expect it, you’ll find the set up you are most comfortable with.

Happy Reading!

PS: As something extra on the designer side, check out the post from Brad Ellis on Designing the icons for NetNewsWire 3.2 back in October.

Categories: Blog Entries


  • hCante

    Thanks for sharing all these useful links, I remember that once tried to use a web-based RSS feed reader (other than google reader) and simply do not work for me.

    Having this information with my google account with a single click away, it easy enough to return. Although FeedDemon looks interesting.

    I would like to add feedly which I find very interesting.

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