RSS is an abbreviation for Really Simple Syndication. So what the heck is that?
Well, if we look at the words, “Really Simple,” that part is really simple to understand.
Some folks might benefit from a little clarification about “Syndication.” The word syndication comes from “syndicate,” which has a number of meanings. We’re not so concerned about the definition used as “A loose affiliation of gangsters.” Two other concepts that would be more beneficial for our use are as follows (from the American Heritage Dictionary):
- An agency that sells articles, features, or photographs for publication in a number of newspapers or periodicals simultaneously.
- A chain of newspapers, or an agency that distributes features to multiple newspapers.
If you recall back in the old days when people read newspapers, you might have enjoyed a favorite comic strip. Well, that comic strip was created by an artist and distributed, or “syndicated,” to all the newspapers that wanted to publish that strip.
So, RSS is a modern electronic equivalent of making words, pictures, videos, music, audio broadcasts, etc. (content), available electronically to interested recipients around the world. RSS is most notably associated with blogs.
And the “really simple” part is that when you publish content on a blog, you don’t have to do anything except publish your stuff and it’s instantly distributed (syndicated) for free and available to others who use RSS readers. (Which are also free).
The cool thing for the people reading your stuff is they don’t even need to visit your website. So, they can read all the latest news from all their favorite blogs without even visiting your site. Sort of like how you could read your favorite comic in your local newspaper without having to visit the artist’s studio who created it.