Do you visit more than one website? Keep tabs on several different blogs to see if anything new has been posted? Do you like having all your favorite blogs/wikis/news show up in one single interface? If you answered yes to any of these then you will definitely like what RSS can do for you.
What is RSS? Usually, it's known as "Rich Site Summary," though even those simple words can't convey what it can do. RSS by itself is just a bunch of code and, to the naked eye, nothing to make your heart flutter. At its core, RSS provides a way for web site content--be that blog posts, news as they happen, continually updated online content--to be syndicated, or published, as a continued stream as it happens.
Example of a RSS feed:
So how do you use RSS? By using a news reader! That’s where the magic starts! A news reader (also called aggregators and feed readers) configures this newly updated stream of code into a flesh and font and readable website.
How a news reader renders that code:
So we can see that RSS is really just a way to feed newly updated bits of code into a readable format using a news reader. You can subscribe to many different RSS feeds. If you see these icons on a website/blog/wiki/etc:
then that means that website has RSS feeds available that you can subscribe to using your news reader.
There are free and paid news readers available, with leading online news readers available via Google Reader and Bloglines.
Once you subscribe to several websites you will only have to visit your particular reader to see if any new content has been published. It's that simple. What's even better is that most of the advertising prevalent in a lot of blogs and websites is absent if you read the post using your news reader. Truly, a cool thing.