I noticed today that I keep using the term “push your feed through Feedburner” and I just kind of assume that everyone knows what I’m talking about. Well – I’m probably wrong. There’s probably a lot of people who have no idea what ‘pushing a feed’ means. Since RSS feeds are one of the main ways in which podcasts are delivered, it’s vitally important that we’re all on the same page.
This is a two-part series. I’ll first attempt to explain what a feed is, and then I’ll explain the ‘pushing’ part.
The term feed is short for RSS feed. An RSS feed is another way of reading the content of a blog or website. When talking about podcasting, we specifically care about the RSS v2.0 because version 2 is the one that allows the transmission of media files.
An RSS feed is an XML file that comes off of a blog or other website that contains the content from that site. The purpose of an RSS feed from a blog is to allow readers to subscribe to that feed and read the blog in a news aggregator rather than visiting the site.
If that’s just too much gobbledy-good for you, click on the RSS Feed 2.0 button over on the far right sidebar. You’re now looking at the RSS feed for Biz Podcasting. That’s not really meant to be read by you, rather it’s meant to be read by a news aggregator. One of the more popular online aggregators (although there are local ones as well) is Bloglines. You can open a Bloglines account and subscribe to my feed’s address (https://bizpodcasting.com/index.xml) and then never come back here again to read my posts. Blogines will serve them all up to you in an email-like interface.
The value of aggregators is lost on readers who don’t follow a lot of blogs. If you only read 5–10 blogs, it’s not a big problem to visit each one every day to catch up. But when you hit 20 or more blogs a day, it’s much easier to keep on top of the ball via an aggregator.
In podcasting, however, the feed is critcal. A special type pf news aggregator called a podcatcher can be used to subscribe to a podcast blog’s feed. The podcatcher provides all the intelligence to know what shows it has already downloaded for you and it keeps an eye your subscribed sites for new episodes to pop up.
Next up…the Feedburner part of the equation.