What are Feeds?

Feeds allow you to see when websites have added new content. You can get the latest headlines and video in one place, as soon as its published, without having to visit the websites you have taken the feed from.

Feeds are also known as RSS. There is some discussion as to what RSS stands for, but  ‘Really Simple Syndication’ is the most common interpretation. In essence, the feeds themselves are just web pages, designed to be read by computers rather than people.

How do I start using feeds?

In general, the first thing you need is something called a news reader or feed reader. This is a piece of software that checks the feeds and lets you read any new articles that have been added. There are many different versions, some of which are accessed using a browser, and some of which are downloadable applications.

Browser-based news readers let you catch up with your RSS feed subscriptions from any computer, similar to a web-based email service like Hotmail. Whereas downloadable applications let you store them on your main computer, in the same way that you download and store your e-mail using software such as Outlook.

Once you have chosen a news reader, all you have to do is to decide what content you want it to receive. If you click on the RSS button you can subscribe to the feed in various ways, including by dragging the URL of the feed into your news reader or by cutting and pasting the same URL into a new feed in your news reader. Most sites that offer feeds use a similar orange button, but some may just have a normal web link.

Some browsers, including Firefox, Opera and Safari, automatically check for feeds for you when you visit a website, and display an icon when they find one. This can make subscribing to feeds much easier. For more details on these, please check their websites.

How do I get a news reader?

There is a range of different news readers available and new versions are appearing all the time. Different news readers work on different operating systems, so you will need to choose one that will work with your computer. We do not recommend any particular news reader or software, but some common news readers include:

Web-based Google Reader, Bloglines Netvibes, FeedZilla, NewsGator, Microsoft Live, My Yahoo!
Windows: Newz Crawler, FeedDemon, Awasu
Mac OS X Newsfire, NetNewsWire

Using feeds on your site

If you run your own website, you can display the latest headlines from Sojourners blogs on your own site using RSS. Given limited staff resources, we are unable to provide technical support in explaining how to set up a feed on your site, but many fine (and free) resources are available on the Web with a little searching.

We encourage the use of Sojourners feeds as part of a Web site. However, we do require that proper attribution be used when our content appears. The attribution text should read “Sojourners” and link to “http://www.sojo.net“.