Inquisitive Guide – The “new” Facebook : Everything you need to know

Yes, our semi favorite Social Network has changed … again. The fact of the matter is whether we like it or not, the changes are here for a while, until they change are going to change once more. There have been more negative reviews to the redesign than positive ones, the fact of the matter is no matter how much we complain, it is still a free product that we are NOT compelled to use, but we all use during our everyday life. After desperately trying to add in all the features that were unique in the rival social networks like the subscribe feature making the twitter’s main feature available on Facebook and the lists redefined to behave more like Google Circles; Facebook threw their biggest gamble yet. A complete redesign from the profile to the user page.

Yes I liked the previous Facebook better, but I guess we all need to adapt into the new one; so what if I thought someone had a Blue Drink and barfed all over the screen. So I thought I will post some of the most important features of the “new” redesigned Facebook. Some that might need to be known to all. Sigh, I liked Social Networking sites when you did not need a manual to use them. Some humor about the changes first here below.

Changes to the News Feed including the Ticker

This is one of the most noticeable new changes on the new Facebook. Facebook’s new design highlights posts that you’ll likely find important (well what they think you will find important), and prioritizes them at the top of your feed when you log in. The top stories are designated by a blue tag in the upper left corner of the post. Knowing so much about you it might be easier for them to actually “guess” this through their algorithms. Keeping the page open for a while, I did notice that it did not change much if you leave it open.

If you have used Twitter you will know that new tweets are displayed at the top and Facebook has a similar feature for their new recent stories. The ticker in the right is interesting and annoying. This is the place where real time information will be put up. It will always be there and also auto attach to the chat window as well.

Photo Albums

It has been known for a while by all that the largest database of pictures on the Internet is with Facebook. From Albums that people add to Facebook Apps that create its own set of images (for some reason are very popular on Indian Profiles) the entire Facebook is full of pictures. Using the previous theater mode, people who had complaints realized that the way pictures are displayed is now changed. Google Plus users will immediately pick the copy cat. However, the images are provided with good area for commenting and viewing in a theater like view as well.

The Like Button is no more just that

The Like button is one of the social legends of our time. Nearly everyone trying to come up with an equivalent. Google even got the +1 as a competitor, but guess what, like everything else Facebook is going to fix the like button although its not broken. Now you will not only like, but the most requested Dislike will come up as well along with any verb that people can think of. So well with the new redesign developers can come up with their own verb like, “Inquire”, Broke, and stuff. This is an evolutionary step for the like button, lets just hope it does not evolve into extinction. Facebook’s most used feature might just become diluted in the crowd.

Media is coming to Facebook… Big time

When a good friend of mine mentioned a while back, that he is now used to picking up news and interesting information on Facebook first before checking up on it on other sites, I realized that Facebook’s sharing feature had grown BIG. I cannot imaging the last time I searched the web for new trailers, all friends put up something interesting inevitably.

Facebook I guess realized the same thing and has made it possible to now watch TV and movies, listen to music, and read news with your friends — all within Facebook. Starting today, thanks to a whole bunch of partnerships, there are a lot more things you can do without ever having to leave Facebook. You can watch a show on Hulu, listen to a song on Spotify, or check out a story on Yahoo News. The ticker will tell you what your friends are watching, listening to or reading, allowing you to share the experience with them by clicking on a link. Although the video and songs are now US centric, they are going to spread around the world soon.

Now to the two most dangerous and ones you really need to watch out for.

Apps posting information about you

Applications on Facebook used to ask your permission before posting anything on Facebook. Now they dont need to. If you are worried about privacy you need to ensure that you are clear about what Apps you choose and what you dont, cos once an application has access to your profile it can post and access information when ever it wants.

With this move Facebook is slowly trying to kill one of its biggest problems Privacy. How ? Well this is the first step to removing privacy completely. Eventually all information about you will be available freely with your knowledge and you will be OK with it, thats what Facebook is trying to suggest, this could be the very first step in that direction.

But for those worried about privacy, this is something you need to go back and check, all the applications you use and what information they can access and what sites you have logged in using your Facebook Id and what they can do with that information is all something that we need to worry about for the time being.

The TimeLine instead of the Facebook Profile 

In what is the biggest of the changes to Facebook, the entire provide of a person is now going to change into a Digital scrapbook for all of us. With all information we ever put up being physically available to anyone viewing your timeline. Although the feature is going to go live only by the October 1st, I got a preview of the feature and my timeline is available now. Here is how it looks.

You can now add a lot more “life events” on your profile, a new banner picture as well. Maps on the profile all in the name of making a complete Timeline. So much so that you will be asked to provide your birth photo as well. I am sure we are going to see quite a few baby photos soon. Timeline is going to reveal everything you wanted to forget and regret about posting on Facebook ever ! And it will tell your friends about it too, if they have time to stalk on you. The further back in Timeline you go, the more Facebook will compress the information so that you’re only seeing the most interesting parts of your history. You can customize this by clicking on a star next to a status, say, or enlarging a picture.

If you would really want to get your own timeline right now, try some of these steps mentioned here.

Probably the most riskiest decisions ever, this redesign might have the impact of driving its users to other sites like Google Plus. And with Diaspora now opening windows to new users, there could be very soon fragmenting of these social networks.

Inquisitive Interviews : Altaf Jasnaik – Corporate Brand and Learning Manager

Inquisitive Interviews is back this week with an interesting profession of sorts. This week I introduce you Altaf Jasnaik, who interestingly has two titles on his business card, one being Learning and Development manager and another Corporate Brand Manager. People all the time tend to write good at multi-tasking on their resume to make it look impressive, I guess there will be no guesses about the multi tasking capabilities of Altaf. Altaf in his interview decided to give weightage to the one profile of his work that really his mind is at, the brand management perspective. Although we have had a brand manager before, this interview gives an insight into what working with a multi national organization in the capacity he is in, would be like.

For the uninitiated, Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewees providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[Q] Tell us something about yourself- where you live, work, your interests…? 

Hello, I’m Altaf Jasnaik. An Indian by origin, born and brought up in the UAE, I have lived most of my life outside India, with episodes of my life spent in the UK and parts of Europe due to work and education related travel.

An engineering student with an aptitude for design, it didn’t take me long to realize I was not cut for running machines or operations. Just not something I was good at. So I moved into the design and management side of technology and engineering organizations. After a masters in business and working for a couple of years in the UK, I returned to Dubai where I worked with a chain of Multi-National companies managing marketing, branding and innovation roles. After working with technology companies like JVC, Panasonic, Grundfos and now Sharp, over the past decade I have learnt that it is almost always not who you worked for, but what you did with the opportunities that came your way.

Good things don’t happen to good people. If you’re good, you will get stamped on. If you’re smart, you will be able to turn things around and make the most of any situation. Just remember to think on your feet and at least one step ahead. You see I hold two titles 1st “Corporate Brand Manager” and then “Learning and Development Manager”. Perhaps you have room only for one title so we can call it as “Corporate Brand and Learning Manager” for Sharp’s MEA operations.

[Q] Is the job what you expected it to be ? And is the compensation good enough ? 

Yes. I have been a brand ambassador for the brands I have worked for and have been managing Brand portfolios for MNCs in the region. It gives me an opportunity to leverage my engineering background along with the exposure to marketing for helping organizations run their marketing operations regionally and globally. To top it, my carefully crafted career path has always made room for me to follow my passion for innovation. Either directly involved with Innovation Platforms or towards discovery of new products and technologies.

If you’re doing what you love and the money is good, it can make you complacent. So if you’re in it for the money, look for a sales job.

[Q] What is your average day like at work? If possible a recent project or work that excited you enough as part of your job? 

As the custodian of a brand, work isn’t limited to the office floor. You try to share the story of the brand you represent at every step. But an average day would mean you’re in and out of meetings, mostly high-energy status-checks on the numerous projects going around the huge territory we look after. Since work isn’t life, I try to make room for myself with a fitness routine after sunrise, followed by a flexibly drafted day full of time to be with family before and after work. There isn’t a set formula, but the trick is in the balance you can conduct your days with.

I think there are several but maybe a good example would be one that reflects what working in a global MNC environment could be like. Sharp decided to participate at the region’s foremost Info. Tech show, GITEX. At the show Sharp wanted to create a big bang using its technologies and the product that was zeroed in on was a 60 inch 5.5 mm slim bezel (meaning the rectangular frame around the screen) LCD display monitor with LED backlight. A typical innovation which changes the game of professional display technology, but yet an ‘unsexy’, ‘how-will-it-change-my-average-middle-class-life’ product with little appeal to any normal exhibition visitor. So the challenge was to promote the product using impressive content and using the sheer size of the product.

So we decided to make the world’s largest 360 inch LCD video-wall at GITEX which would make it the largest ever single screen LCD display. While that first looked like a challenge in terms of the technical integration, it turned out to be an even bigger challenge in terms of content. “What do you show on such a large LCD?”. Faced with this challenge, a colleague and I were handed the responsibility of putting this show together. Using the vast network of professionals Sharp has globally, we collected relevant experiences and ideas from everyone in Sharp’s global network. We travelled to exhibitions in the Far East, Europe and America to understand how best to make this show a success.

Since it was the first time any Sharp company was doing this, we found that colleagues all over the world were excited to see what we would come up with. What began as a local challenge became a global case study for Sharp with all eyes on what we would create. After several hundred hours spent toying with concepts, we decided to go for the record braking LCD  screen size and also make specially designed video content that we could use and that could be shared globally. Once this was set in stone, we saw a sudden influx of more ideas and funds from all over the organization to support our mission.

What followed was some of the roughest creative surfing I have ever been involved in the uncharted-waters of ‘creating-globalized-content’. As we discovered it was not a piece of cake, and to think of suiting the needs of a global audience is not easy business. Anyhow, after several weeks of working with some of the best and most creative people from across the world, we came up with the final exhibition format, that included the 360 Inches LCD display and the video content that we fondly remember as DMAT – “Don’t Miss A thing”. Why DMAT, if you ask, well with a bezel so slim, unlike other video-walls, Sharp’s cutting edge LCD technology can create an almost seamless viewing experience for any type of application in any diversified environment.

Not all the work one does in a regional office is meant to take this course. Often you are left with the responsibilities of customizing global content locally, but this was the perfect example of taking local content global. A year into the project, and after replica shows in the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and all over Asia, DMAT has become a phenomenon of taking ideas from creative members of an international team seriously. Sharp HQ has more faith in our abilities and all of Sharp’s subsidiaries look forward to the next most creative exhibition solution that Sharp Middle East and Africa will come up with.

[Q] Is this job what you had pictured to be? If yes, then how long did you take to get here?

Frankly no. It is but a step or two short of where I want to be in life, at the forefront of an innovation team that is able to churn out one innovation after another. My aim is to use my marketing and branding background to be able to understand customer needs better. Then translate these needs into innovation platforms, which use company resources to develop real and meaningful innovations that change the way people live their lives. Call it a long shot, but this is where I aim to be. It took me 10 years to get here and I am giving myself another 5 to be in the role I wish to be at.

If my formula of taking every chance life throws at me works, I will continue to move spirally in my career to reach this place I want to be. If it isn’t meant to be, I will retire at 40 and take up teaching and consultation so that I can pursue a business model I have in mind for promoting innovation globally.

[Q] What’s the most interesting part of your job? Do you get bored at your workplace? 

The customer interaction, understanding their needs and translating them into products. Yes I do get bored. Sometimes things are too routine. But then right around the corner is a new challenge.

[Q]  What’s the most challenging part of your job? And whats the part you don’t like ?

If the word challenging were to be stripped of any negative connotations related that spell “problem”, the most challenging part of my job as the facilitator of learning and development is creating and sustaining an environment of mutual sharing that is based on long-term thinking. It is a challenge, and one that is related to people and their personalities. But this is exactly what I love doing, so I continue playing this duel.

The part that I don’t like is that, It involves a lot of travel. The worst has been over 150 days a year.

[Q] Do you report to someone? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job? 

Yes. Very little. I have the freedom to chart my days and plan my activities.

[Q] Whats your Alumni ? Where have you studied ? 

School : Sharjah Indian School, Sharjah, UAE

Pre University : Wilson College, Mumbai, UAE

Bachelors Degree: D.Y.Patil College, India

Masters Degree : University of Bedforshire, Luton, UK

[Q] Do you use skills that you learnt in school /college? Did you take up any specific training or courses? 

Yes, the basic math, logic and language skills learnt from school are what you use for 90 % of the time. So kids in school, pay attention. The remaining 10 % of the time, you are the expert that you are. Someone who knows how to use the skills at the right time, to the right degree to make the crucial operational bits work. These skills are gathered and sharpened over time.

[Q] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry? Meaning what are the limitations/ drawbacks of the industry? 

Yes, if you love people-and-technology interactions and travelling to far-distant places. No, if you want to make tons of money.

[Q] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry? And what do they need to watch out for ? 

Spend some time and effort understanding what you are good at first. Don’t join the band wagon, but don’t jump the boat. Know your strengths and then take some chances.

[Q] Anything else you want to tell the readers? 

Stay humbled, not grounded. Skip dinners, not breakfast. First learn to compete with yourself, if you can overcome your shortcomings you won’t need to compete with anyone else.

[Q] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession? In terms of General reading as well as Job Searches? 

The entire WWW (worldwideweb)

You can get in touch with Altaf at these links below :

http://www.facebook.com/altaf.jasnaik

http://ae.linkedin.com/in/discoveraltafjasnaik

 A hearty thanks to Altaf for a wonder insight into what goes on with a corporate Brand and Learning Manager. I hope you guys enjoyed this interview as much as I enjoyed presenting it to you, until next time Be Inquisitive.

Wordless Thursday – That’s what THAY say

This weeks wordless Thursday will be something that anyone and everyone will be able to read and relate into. Because this Info graphic has been created using information that people have collected from regular people like you and me providing with a statistical view of the world. Created by the website Hunch, which helps find recommendations that are customized to your taste. And how do they customize information by collecting information from people. Here are some Hunch insights and correlations based on selective THEY questions:

Wordless Thursday – The real effects of Drinking and Driving

Welcome back to Wordless Thursday this week and this item we talk about something that is really a threat to our society. I agree I have been guilty of this before, but not anymore. The infographic shows the real impact of Drunk driving or drinking and driving. Drivers of drinking and driving accidents in many countries are now being charged with Attempt to Murder, and I believe that is true. Your comments welcome.

Three Awesome Google Logos that Distracted the World

This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online college about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @ gmail.com. If you would like to contribute an article to the Inquisitive Mind, please get in touch at the contact page. I will be more than happy to add in the relevant post on the blog.

In today’s society, life is about speed and productivity. With the evolution of new technologies and the internet, we expect instant gratification for any query we might stumble upon. While things in internet-land are constantly moving and changing, one site and enterprise that has remained ever steady is Google. Google is like the god of the internet. It seems as though they can do nothing wrong. With a beautiful search engine, great emailing capabilities, and even a very useful browser, Google has perfected the art of speed and productivity. While Google has certainly made our lives run a lot more smoothly in many ways, it has also caused an internet traffic jam on more than one occasion. The Google logo is one of the most recognized logos throughout the world. Since 1998, Google has been doing Google Doodles with the highly recognized logo. These three Google Doodles are believed to have cost the world a significant amount of money for the time wasted by internet users (awesome).

Les Paul Google Doodle

1. Les Paul Logo: On June 9th 2011, Google celebrated the 96th birthday of Les Paul by displaying an interactive electric guitar doodle as the logo. The doodle is one of the only Google Doodles that is interactive. This logo was displayed worldwide and was a huge hit in the United States. Users could hold their cursers over the strings of the doodle to strum the guitar. You could also activate the keyboard to strum the guitar. In the United States, users could record their strumming for thirty seconds and then a URL is created for your recording. This Google Doodle is possibly one of the coolest yet. With users around the world creating tunes on their browsers, there are rumors that the Les Paul logo alone cost the U.S. millions of dollars in productivity for the two days that it was displayed.

Pacman Google Doodle

2. Pac-Man Logo: On May 21st 2010, Google celebrated the 30th anniversary of the arcade game Pac-Man by displaying an interactive logo of the game itself. This was the first interactive logo that Google had ever unveiled and was a huge success worldwide. Anyone who visited the site could play Pac-Man on the logo. The logo mimicked the exact features of the original game with ghosts, dots, and all of the classic sounds. Visitors could play Ms. Pac-Man as well by pressing the “Insert Coin” button twice. In this instance, two Pac-Man games show on the screen, allowing two people to play at once. The Pac-Man logo was one of the most popular Google tricks and now has an entire site dedicated to it (linked above).

3. Jules Verne’s 183rd Birthday Logo: On February 8th 2011, Google celebrated the birthday of French author Jules Gabriel Verne. Verne pioneered the genre of science-fiction and is best known for novels such as Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and A Journey to the Center of the Earth. Google changed their logo to an interactive submarine exploration. The word “Google” was spelled out to look like the windows of a submarine. The user can control the submarine by moving a lever up and down or right and left. See tropical fish, deep sea divers, sharks, and monsters on your exploration. As a beautiful tribute to a fantastic writer, Google’s imagination shines as much as Verne’s.

 

Teach your parents tech, the Google way

With the internet and websites evolving, it is getting more easier to keep in touch with loved ones. Email, IM, twitter, and these days even Facebook. We tend to give tech as gifts these days to our loved ones these days, but sometimes we find that our parents and some children are really still struggling to catch up with the amount of tech we are used to, and it would become difficult for them to still work on basic tasks on computers, while using the computer or phone.

Well, Google to the rescue like always. And no I am not asking them to Google whatever they want. Google has set up a new initiative called teach parents tech where they have uploaded a lot of videos of how to actually go about doing simple computer tasks, tasks we feel are easy but some technologically challenged people find difficult. Yes I used the words technologically challenged and no I dont think its a real phrase. Getting back to Teach parents Tech, the initiative I believe is excellent, from changing wallpapers on your windows based computer right though to Web, Media, Finding Information and Communication. The best part is that you can customize a letter for them and select the videos that they are going to love to learn from.

Once you send your personalized email they can view the personalized playlist on YouTube with instruction videos. I guess there is not much left to say, but send it to those technologically challenged friends of yours, or that family member that asks for too many tech support questions. The website header itself says “Send your parents a TECH SUPPORT care package

On the down side, if you receive one of these emails, well that just means you know what your friends really think of you. Here are some video samples of the training that you can send.

How to create a strong password

How to copy and Paste

How to make text bigger or smaller

How to stop getting a newsletter

How to make calls from your computer

How to Chat

How to check spellings

I am sure that once the Android platform gets more famous, it will become more apparent that many people might need some help with it as well, and guess what I will be waiting for a new how to video channel for them as well.

Check out : Teach Parents Tech

Wordless Thursday – House Cleaning Facts

This week’s Wordless Thursday is dedicated to all the guys and girls who fight over House cleaning. Wordless Thursday is this blog’s attempt at bringing interesting infographics from across the internet to you every Thursday.

Wordless Thursday – Small things, Large Impact

Back again this week with Wordless Thursday, the feature that posts interesting infographics, which you guys love so much. Introducing this week’s Infographic is a pleasure to me, this is because I know and believe that these small things do really cause a large environmental impact. And with the environmental impact being positive we can hopefully offset some of the harming activities that we all so normally ignore. Like they say every watt saved, is a watt generated. Add to it the financial impact.

Wordless Thursday – Facts about your Mouth

Apart from its primary role as the first step of digestion, the mouth plays other important roles, especially in communication. Another non digestive role of the mouth is secondary social or sexual activity, i.e kissing. This week’s wordless Thursday aims to provide you with enough information regarding the mouth to make you look smarter in front of that date, maybe even enticing her to use it for secondary social and sexual activity :)

For the new ones on this blog, Wordless Thursday is my attempt of bringing teh Inquisitive world around us into the forefront in the form of Inquisitive Infographic. Although I do not create all the infographics, I still think they are worth sharing.

Wordless Thursday – College life on TV and in Reality

If you really wold go by the stuff that they show in sitcoms and in movies, Colleges especially in US seem to be heaven for people in that age group. Cooperating faculty, partying roomies, and all the stereotypes shown in teen flicks is what people expect. But in order  not to have the expectations high, this infographic is put together by some college students in the US. A picture is worth a thousand words. For the uninitiated, wordless Thursday is a section on this site, where I showcase the world through Inquisitive Infographics.

But the real comparison from the college life in the movies and the college life in reality is surprisingly overlapped in some aspects, not the good ones of course. So well, enjoy and let me know what you think ?

Proven, Creative job hunting techniques that will amaze you

Social Media is the buzz these days, but what really is Social Media. And there are people and businesses doing what ever it takes to get on to the band wagon of Social Media. But there are a selected few who are actually using it, in ways that would make us stand up and take notice. Job Hunt. Yes the field where you send in your resume wait for an interview to be arranged, and then hope you have done well to negotiate your job. Yes there have been really creative resumes, like the ones highlighted on another post here. But what if you could short cut the process with Social Media.

image credit

Well yes of course you have a Linked In profile and are findable on Google and yes your resume reads right as well, but still there are 100 Million other people on Linked In as well doing pretty much the same. And to make things worse, we don’t even use Linked In the way it is meant to be. So are you confused what to do, well these things should give you some inspiration. When faced with the unenviable task of searching for a job,  and marketing yourself,  the web and social media provides a variety of opportunities that wouldn’t work with other mediums. These creative job hunters have thought outside the box and leveraged the web to get themselves noticed.

Alec Brownstein

Alec Brownstein, a writer, needed a job. So he chose the names five top NYC advertising directors that he’d like to work for. Knowing that large bigwig executives would probably (like all of us) Google their own name, he bought an advertisement in Google that would be displayed when each person searched for his own name.

He got two job offers. The cost was just $6, a fine example of creative job hunting. He later published this YouTube Video explaining how it all happened, which itself went viral on the web – with nearly 1 million views at time of writing.

Talk about Social Media on steroids, this campaign was the reason I really started looking at some other similar examples, the next two are as good.

David Wood

David Wood, an unemployed Sales Representative from Bristol decided enough was enough after spending two years writing up to 30 job applications and scanning newspapers and websites for paid work. He decided to put an advert together on auction website EBay auctioning himself off to the highest bidder.

After some initial exploration on Twitter of using the medium of EBay to sell himself, David was approached by a PR firm who helped him create the campaign.Although his first advert didn’t make the cut (EBay don’t currently allow services to be auctioned on the site) he amended the advert to become much more product focused.

His advert reads: ‘For Sale an Experienced Sales Representative’ and describes him as a 1965 model who is ‘enthusiastic’ and ‘motivated’. With this his profile has shown up on numerous blogs, like mine, TV shows local newspapers, providing him with the reach that has kind of made him a local celebrity. Check out a screenshot of his eBay page below.

Victor Petit

Victor Petit is a french graphic design student looking for an internship. His recent Video on Vimeo shows perfectly how a little creativity in your C.V. can really grab the attention of your audience. His combination of mobile QR codes and an interactive experience is quite brilliant, taking the traditional C.V. and turning it on it’s head.

Absolutely fantastic work I should say, and we all know how QR codes are taking on the world. You can read about QR codes here if you are interested.

I dont really think that all of trying the same thing will work too, this is just for inspiration so you can think out of the box too.

Inquisitive Guide – RSS : Best way to visit many websites together

A few years ago, my mentor gave me a quick advice, which in turn has changed my life as clichéd as it sounds. He said I should make it a point of spending time online without using the usual refinements like Facebook, YouTube, email or other form of direct entertainment online. Initially targeted at spending an hour online, now I have some interesting hours online nearly every other day, which I should say has enabled me to even write about these Inquisitive topics. Eventually there are quite a few websites that I was reading regularly, blogs that I was reading and what came out of it was, that I started to spend too much time in visiting those sites / blogs to pick up the information that I wanted to read. Then I stumbled upon RSS.

Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication, the expanded version of RSS is actually a web format that is used to read “feeds” from sites. What it means is that people with RSS feeds on their sites have set up a sort of a radio channel for their websites, where you will constantly pick up any changes or posts that they add, however the advantage over radio is that it shows them by posts, so you can pick to read what you want to, where as you can opt to not read ones that do not really interest you. The video here should help better understand RSS.

Why RSS? Benefits and Reasons for using RSS

RSS solves a problem for people who regularly use the web. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually. You ensure your privacy, by not needing to join each site’s email newsletter.

What do I need to do to read an RSS Feed? RSS Feed Readers and News Aggregators

Feed Reader or News Aggregator software allow you to grab the RSS feeds from various sites and display them for you to read and use. A RSS reader can be web based application, desktop-based standalone application, browser based application or a mobile device based app. Each of these readers has their own features and some are free while others are not. Those who have to access their RSS feeds from multiple computers prefer a web based RSS reader. Those who access RSS from a single computer generally choose the desktop applications. While choosing your desktop-based application, make sure that you are keeping into account the operating system platform that you are using. All recent browser applications also have an inbuilt RSS reader. These browsers also have a finder technology that automatically spots the RSS widget on the website that the browser is visiting. In addition, RSS feeds can be received on mobile phones. What more, you can even connect your RSS feeds with your social network channels like twitter and facebook. The services like twitterfeed and RSS graffiti makes this possible. RSS feeds can also be converted to emails and read from your inbox.

variety of RSS Readers are available for different platforms. Some popular feed readers include Amphetadesk (Windows, Linux, Mac), FeedReader (Windows), and NewsGator (Windows – integrates with Outlook). There are also a number of web-based feed readers available. My YahooBloglines, and Google Reader are popular web-based feed readers.

Once you have your Feed Reader, it is a matter of finding sites that syndicate content and adding their RSS feed to the list of feeds your Feed Reader checks. Many sites display a small icon with the acronyms RSS, XML, or RDF to let you know a feed is available.

As an additional step you can chose to beautify the RSS feeds with these plugins for popular browsers such that you can read the news from these sites easily. A great example of the RSS feed beautifier, aggregator and reader is the Feed.ly plugin for Google Chrome, that converts a boring looking interface into a proper magazine style interface.

At the end of the day the name of the game is pulling information from sites that you want and present it to you in the way you want it. So if Melvin’s Inquisitive Mind is on your list of blogs and or sites that you visit usually and want the information to reach you as soon as it is posted, well go ahead give the RSS a try on this blog. Its on the top right, just below the content slideshow.