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Using RSS Feeds to Stay Current in Your Field

14 Jan

RSSfeedIf you’ve worked in a professional setting, or received any type of post-secondary education, the concept of staying professionally current is something you’re familiar with. However, for many budding professionals, staying current is an abstract concept that few people take the time to define or operationalize. Though there are many ways for you to remain updated on trends and news in your industry, I’ve chosen to focus on one that will bring content directly to your inbox (or favorite app).

One of the best ways to get the latest insight into an industry trend is to read blogs – tons and tons of blogs. It seems as though “experts” and “gurus” are as ubiquitous as the smartphones, tablets, and multimedia devices they use to create their content, leaving no shortage of free information to keep you current. After blog hunting for some time, you will have undoubtedly found so many great sources that you may find yourself jumping from site to site, only to realize that you’ve forfeited valuable time that could have been used getting things done. Thankfully, there is a way to synthesize your favorite blogs into one location without having your inbox flooded with new subscriptions.

RSS feeds, or Really Simple Syndication feeds, allow the content of multiple blogs to be automatically updated and aggregated into a central location. Instead of receiving separate email digests from the seven different blogs that you follow, you can visit your RSS stream to view them all in one place. A quick internet search will yield countless results for RSS readers and ways to keep track of your feeds. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll focus on the tool that I’m most familiar with.

As with seemingly most things around the World Wide Web, Google provides a free and simple solution, already accessible to anyone with a Google account. Simply go to www.google.com/reader to begin searching for and adding blogs to your feed. FingerReaderYou will see new articles automatically begin to populate as you add more blogs, bringing the most up-to-date content in your industry directly to your fingertips. Additionally, there are dozens of free (and paid) RSS reader apps for every smartphone/tablet platform, allowing you to catch up on the latest news on the go. So if you’re using blogs to keep tabs on your field, setting up an RSS feed is definitely worth your time. Your to-do list will thank you for it.

Share some of your favorite blogs with us in the comments section.

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