First, you should all know that feeds are not about food. I know it makes no sense at all, but they aren’t. Feedreaders do not come in tuna flavor.
Second, I wrote a brief article on this for the Cat Blog Help Center. You can go there if you wish to read that, although I will go over much of this information again here.
Blogs are based on something called RSS, which stands for really simple syndication. This means that their information is easily passed around the internet. This is what made them so popular with early internet junkies. Today, there are many free blog platforms. All of these use RSS. Every blog has RSS already. You don’t have to “get it”. You just need to know how to use it.
To read a blog in a feedreader, first you must subscribe to a feedreader. I use bloglines. However, if you want to see what else is out there, I suggest you use the “subscribe” button in the left corner of my sidebar. This will bring up a page of links to various feedreaders. If you already have a feedreader that you are logged into, it will attempt to add me to your feedreader. If you don’t, this gives you a choice of where you want to go and what you want to join. The ones I have looked at have been free.
I had several comments on google reader. Apparently they are slow with their updates. Bloglines is a bit faster. I know when I look at my blog, it’s usually been updated almost immediately. I do know that there are times when I will see that Kaze or Latte have not been updated but Chase has (or some combination). I know they tend to blog close to the same time frame, so there can be a bit of a lag even with bloglines.
Skeezix’ blog does not seem to update (no matter which feed I subscribe to) and a couple of blogs I have to click on the post title rather than the blog title.
I like a feedreader because it tells me who has written a new post. Many times, however, bloglines will tell me there is a new post when there isn’t. This happens if the cat has updated a post I already read–even if it’s just to change a spelling error. We have tested this. Bloglines thinks it’s a new post. This is okay because we have way to many blogs to read all the time!
We went to this system because blogrolling was no longer updated automatically and often we didn’t know who had published a new entry. We spent a lot of time opening blogs that didn’t have any new information.
Bloglines isn’t perfect. If you open a folder and then leave without reading all the blogs, the information is gone. There is no save this information. We have made about four different folders of cat blogs to minimize the chances that we will be booted off before our reading is done. You can easily make as many folders as you want.
Also, on bloglines, we can’t comment. We do have to visit each blog to comment. We have our bloglines default set to just show us the titles of the posts so that we can go over to the blog. We do this even on blogs that we don’t comment on all the time. We kind of like the look of the blog better than the reader in bloglines.
After you sign up at one of these places, you can then say you want to add a blog to your reader. If you have a lot of blogs to add, bloglines has a subscribe button that you can place on your browser so you just hit that when you are reading a blog you want to subscribe to. Then you can set the information that you want in the window that shows up. It’s that easy.
If you start using readers, you will find that many blogs have multiple RSS feeds. I am not sure of the pros and cons of subscribing to any particular feed. I tend to choose the one that everyone else has chosen. Baring that, I will choose the top one.
Now, that I have been a bit of a geek, I think it’s time to order out thanks to Zoolatry!