A new way of delivering news to computer desktop has hit web and it promises to turbo-charge way we gather information.
Called RSS (Really Simple Syndication), it is a format designed for sharing web content such as news and features. An RSS service (also known as an RSS channel or feed) consists of a list of items, each of which contains a headline, description, and a link to a web page. RSS can also include links to multimedia files, such as MP3 “radio” programmes.
To use RSS, you need a special RSS news reader or “aggregator” that will allow you to collect and display RSS services. The news reader allows you to view services you want, all together in same place. By automatically retrieving updates it makes sure your content is always up to date.
For example, using Awasu newsreader program on your PC you could subscribe to feeds from Reuters, BBC, CNN, FT and many others. Then, instead of surfing from one site to another you just click on service within newsreader to get latest headlines. The sites can be scanned in seconds rather than having to be laboriously loaded individually, saving you having to surf around.
In an interview for BBC, James Crabtree of The Work Foundation, said that there's growing belief in technology community that e-mail is a system close to breakdown, thanks in part to spam, unread newsletters, and sheer weight of messages.
"At moment, not many people really know about using RSS. But if more people knew what it was, I think they would use it. It's just a really handy way of getting information you want without having to surf around for it," he said.
There are many different newsreaders available, many for free. Most are applications that you download and install. Others are web-based services that you can sign-up for and view using your browser.
Once installed, you have to find newsfeeds you are interested in. This can be tricky as there are literally thousands. One good source is http://w.moreover.com/categories/category_list_rss.html that has industry specific feeds available. Another is http://www.feed24.com/ that will let you search for all manner of information.
RSS is going to revolutionise way we share corporate information too. You can issue press releases via RSS or share your corporate intranet content with rest of planet. Or how about providing a corporate news feed from London for your Singapore intranet?