Originally uploaded by rustedrobot.

For those of you who haven’t experimented with RSS yet, today’s post will hopefully encourage you to give it a try. Many everyday or casual web users have probably heard of RSS, but then they get turned off at the prospect of actually using it, thinking it’s too complicated or confusing to set up. It’s not. It’s SO not.

Here’s the best way to describe it. You know how when you get an email, your inbox turns bold and the number of new emails you have appears next to it, like this:

Inbox (5)

Well, think of RSS as your email for your favorite websites. You tell the RSS “reader” what your favorite sites are, and when those sites get updated, the “reader” will let you know, like this:

ESPN – Major League Baseball (12) – Red Sox (3)
New York Times Business (14)
WWE Wrestling (3)

Almost everyone I know has a list of favorite websites that they have bookmarked which they refer to. Many of these people each day or each week simply scroll through their favorite websites, looking at each site every time. With RSS, you don’t have to do that. RSS collects all those websites and puts them all into one central outlet for you. In the above example, you simply click on “ – Red Sox” and all the new stories posted to about the Red Sox appear to the right. Now go and click on the picture I posted above to see an example. It’s that easy.

I use Bloglinesas my RSS Reader for obvious reasons – in my eyes, it’s the easiest and best RSS Reader out there and it’s also owned by the company I work for. You “subscribe” to your favorite sites by simply clicking a button that Bloglines makes available. So if you’re surfing a new site and you think you’d like to read it on a regular basis, you click “Subscribe with Bloglines” and that’s it. Next time you log in to Bloglines, it will be there. Give it a try, you’ll be amazed at how easy and streamlined it makes your surfing. It’s also an invaluable tool for staying informed on work-related matters – press releases, news, etc.

Other: what a DAMN great piece of writing today on Lefsetz’s blog. His site is fast becoming a favorite of mine.