Link: Cognitive Dissonance � What is RSS?.
In an effort to aid Nate and Don's discussion on What is RSS?
Here is how I explain it in my classes:
1) I draw a circle on the board, with a warning that they will see why I am not an artist.
2) At the 9 and 3 o'clock positions I write RSS on the circle.
3) At the 12 o'clock position I write weblog
4) At 6 I put aggregator
I tell people that weblogs are web sites that are organized by date and they produce an RSS feed. RSS feeds are basically convoluted HTML or XML. That's all most people want to know or hear.
You subscribe to a website's RSS feed with an aggregator. These can be web-based, like bloglines, or newsgator, or mac or windows based.
An aggregator goes out and checks the RSS feed for you to see if any changes have occurred. This means you don't have to visit 1, 10, 50, or 100 websites, depending on your subscription level. Your aggregator does it for you on a regular timed basis. At this point people generally get the idea. They just need to understand that they have to complete the circle - Weblog + Aggregator and they are held together by RSS.