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Get the Daily Kicks From Weblogs Today

Jul 1, 2008
To Digg or not to Digg? That's a good question. Digg is a popular online social bookmarking site where you can digg or bury-rate an online article, video or podcast thumbs up or thumbs down. Submit what you like for other members to find. The more diggs it receives, the more popular it gets and the higher it comes up on top of the page heap. This is one place where your reactions are valued. Digg lets you visualize the content and participate in a number of ways. That's the social part of it, aside from letting you find out what your friends are digging. Members can also customize their view to remove categories they are not interested in. But even if you don't sign in, you can find out what diggers are discovering.

Are feeds and RSS one and the same? It's easier to think so, but if you want to be a little more technical, the simple way to explain is that a feed could be in the RSS format. In its latest incarnation, RSS 2.0, the acronym stands for Really Simple Syndication, which is what it is. RSS allows aggregation in the XML (Extensible Markup Language) data format for content that gets updated like websites, blogs and podcasts. The RSS document or feed is checked automatically by the feed reader for new content. The orange RSS icon is now standard in many sites.

A term like feed aggregator sounds very intimidating, but in reality, it's anything but scary. Also called feed reader or news reader, it is a software or web-based application that enables you to read syndicated feeds. In short, you can subscribe to anything with feeds: blogs, websites, podcasts, even video channels. There are many free aggregators out there that take the fuss out of visiting your favorites sites. You'll find that you'll save time and become more updated with the use of an aggregator. Start with the NewsGator suite of readers, including FeedDemon for Windows, NewsGator Inbox for MS Outlook, NewsGator Online, and NetNewsWire 3.1 for Mac OS X.

What are feeds and why enable them? Feeds get your blog content to more people by "pushing" them on a regular basis or whenever there are updates through the means convenient to them. Readers choose to subscribe to the sites they want updates of and have the flexibility to read new posts at their own pace without having to go to the blog or website itself. How do you know there are feeds? Look for the orange icon. Some blogging platforms automatically have feeds enabled. For others, you need to turn them on, so check with your provider. Also, take a look at FeedBurner and FeedBlitz to help you optimize, publicize and make the most of your feeds.

One of the joys of blogging is receiving feedback. With time and a little promotion, the blog that nobody reads can get hits through searches, links and random Internet surfing. Open up by allowing your readers to react and respond to particular posts or to get to know you better personally. Give your audience more avenues to reach you. Here are some ways they can get in touch:

Commenting. Probably the most obvious system, as blogging platforms have this built-in. You can also install free services such as HaloScan to add ratings and polls.

Tagboard. An app with messages written like IM, but in reverse chronological order and not necessarily in realtime. Also known as shoutboxes.

Email and instant messaging. Leave your email address and IM username on your blog profile. You'll find that receiving email from strangers, can be both good and bad. As a precaution, use an email address that you do not use for e-commerce transactions.
About the Author
Jon Caldwell is a professional content manager. Much of his articles can be found at http://dailyinternetblog.com
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