Chicklets: More Than Just a Candy

You may have noticed the many chicklets, or buttons, that have started appearing on web sites. Buttons for digging, tagging, sharing, but mostly for subscribing to the content of that site, aka RSS (Really Simple Syndication).

RSS works like a magazine subscription.

  1. When you find a magazine (website, podcast, blog, etc) you enjoy and choose to subscribe, new editions (content) are delivered to your mailbox (reader).
  2. It stays in your mailbox (reader) until you open it.
  3. When you have time, you read only the articles (podcast episodes, blog posts, etc) in the magazine that interest you.
  4. Then you throw it away (delete).
  5. You can also cancel a subscription at any time.
  6. Differences: there is no junk mail or spam and subscriptions are free.

RSS is not just for subscribing to blogs. You will also find the chicklets on news sites, del.icio.us tag pages, wikis, podcasts, a search, video channel, etc. Recently I had a teacher comment that it made sense to him when I explained how I no longer walk out into my front yard each morning to pick up the Newsleader to read. I open my Bloglines account from my porch and read the sections I’ve chosen to subscribe to in my Bloglines account.

Bloglines is the aggregator I recommend. It is web-based, free, and very easy to use. Since it is such a popular reader, you often see the Bloglines chicklets available on sites for convenient 1 click subscribing. To see an example, you can view my Bloglines account.

In Part I of the RSS: A Four Part Series presentation from the K12 Online Conference, James Gates and Kurt Paccio do an excellent job of explaining RSS and demonstrating Bloglines. I highly recommend watching the presentation.
To learn more about RSS, click the Subscribe button at the top if this blog, or register for my summer workshop, Finding and Subscribing to Blogs, on Thursday, August 2nd.

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