Really Simple Explanation of Really Simple Syndication

For Normal Humans, RSS is still confusing as hell. I’ve been explaining it since 2003, and every time I give a talk, somebody asks about it. Lee and Sachi over at Common Craft have created a great, basic introduction to how RSS works and why it’s useful:

Since Lee asked, here’s my suggestion for improving the video. When I explain RSS, I always ask one of the listeners how many websites they visit in a week. Then I explain that, each time they visit each of those sites, they have to be able to recognize what information is new, and so forth. This, as Lee rightly indicates, takes time.

I’d change the video slightly to make multiple copies of the ‘Blogs’ and ‘News’ chits, and mention that, in the old model, the user has to visit each site individually.

I also really dig Lee and Sachi’s hand-rolled MySpace page. It’s their digital lifestyle aggregator all in one page. I’m going to try that.


  1. good explanation!

    (now if only he didn’t say THA wherever he should be saying THE (long e)…it’d be perfect. sorry, once a grammarian, always a grammarian)

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