Blogs and RSS explained (sort of)

What is a blog?  

What is RSS?

Well, this is a blog.  And you can use RSS as an easy way to follow updates of many of your favorite websites and blogs.

My blog is all about woodwinds and music.  So for a very concise explanation, I will refer you to the Blogs in Plain English and RSS in Plain English youtube videos at the bottom. 

I've been trying more and more to use RSS to follow my favorite woodwind blogs.  Bret Pimentel, who has a fantastic woodwind blog, recently posted about several great woodwind blogs.  Be sure to check out his post and check them all out.  I will leave it up to you to check out all of those great woodwind sites.  Bret deserves all the credit for putting that together.  And be sure to bookmark his site as well, one could spend hours in the archives.  He also posted great tips on how to use RSS to follow your favorite blogs, which I am posting below.

Pro tip #1: Subscribe to your favorites

If you’re interested in current conversations on woodwind-related topics, you need to be using something like Google Reader to keep track of your favorites. When you’re visiting a favorite blog and see a symbol like this…

…you can click on it to add that blog to Google Reader (or another favorite blog reader), and keep track of new blog posts all in one place.

Pro tip #2: Engage your favorite bloggers

Don’t just read—respond! Most blogs allow you to leave comments. This opens up conversations, adds value to your favorite bloggers’ writings, and can also generate interest in your own blog or website. If public commenting isn’t your style, consider sending an email to let your favorite bloggers know you’re reading and enjoying. Let them know what you liked and what you’d like to see more of.

Google Reader is an excellent way to follow all of your favorite blogs, especially if you are already hooked into the google universe.  There are also many free and paid for desktop and mobile apps, many of which hook into google reader.  Personally, I enjoy Reeder on the iPhone.  Not just because it's spelled REEDer; it is a finely built iPhone app.

And as tip #2 says, engage!  Bloggers appreciate good feedback.  Don't be shy, leave a comment.