Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Eight Things to do with an RSS Feed... Mine in Particular.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: RSS Feeds are freaking useful (and you should subscribe to mine as soon as possible, if you haven't already!)! However, since you're still reading this, you're probably not convinced yet about how useful they actually are. Heck, you might even already be a subscriber, in which case: Good on you, but nothing says you necessarily know how useful they are!
What is RSS? It's an old technology of the internet made new because now enough people are publishing with them to make aggregation useful again. You sign up for a site (or two, three, five, eighteen...) with an RSS reader, and the reader checks them all for you and lets you know ASAP when a new article comes out. It's all the benefit of being able to check each of those sites at once, without the hassle of actually having to remember to check each site.
The best way to explain why you should use them is to let you know what you can do with an RSS feed once you're subscribed to one, and rest assured, there's plenty of things you can do with my blog's RSS feed:
  1. Save Time and Energy!
    Why run around to 16 different websites when you can just go to your RSS reader of choice and see which ones in the list have updated? Including this blog into your list means that you can keep up with me without having to actually visit the website unless you want to!
  2. Catch the Weekly Update (or any Bonus Update I happen to do) as Soon as it Appears!
    This is a gimme; I like to have an update up when I post a new page, which means you get your fix as good as immediately. As a plus, it makes sure you don't forget to read the comic, and if you're one of the forum folks, it gives you a chance to be the first to post the thread for the new page. (Go on, admit it, you want to be THAT guy at least once.)
  3. Steal Sneak Peaks at the Cool Stuff I'm Reading!
    I have set up to leave my bookmarks in the RSS feed. Sometimes it's just random stuff I want to keep track of (like, say, research for an important paper for a class), other times it's good articles by other people, sometimes its hints at what I'll be trying next, whether it's for a new blog article or some nifty product idea . . . either way, you can't lose!
  4. Snag Every Single New Blog Post!
    RSS keeps up with all the updates, period. It couldn't be simpler to make sure you don't miss something important posted here.
  5. Show your Support for the Comic / Blog!
    The counter keeps track of the # of subscribers to the blog. When the number goes up, not only does it make me happy, you're showing other people that you think the comic (or at least this RSS feed) is useful and worth something. Keeping the artist happy means more posts of better quality, and the bigger the # in the counter gets, the more likely other people are to subscribe to the feed. This isn't a ploy; since subscriber counts are one of the easier-to-measure indicators of quality, when my numbers jump, everyone knows I've done a good job.
  6. Track my Convention Appearances!
    I always mention when I'm going to a new convention, whether it's for business or pleasure, and so if you're going there too, this is your chance to say hello! Whether it's a convention for Furry Fandom, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Anime, or even Computers / Web 2.0, if I'm going to it, you're going to hear about it! And sooner or later you might even be interested in meeting me there.
  7. Discover My Latest Offers!
    Hey, I have plenty of crackpot ideas and attempts at experimentation in the name of the comic... why not be the first to see what I'll come up with next? Who knows, maybe you'll actually like it enough to want to buy something!
  8. Win Contests Announced in the Blog!
    There was a contest not too long ago where I gave away two full-body commissions to a pair of observant readers who were the first to answer correctly. It's not likely any future contests will be so easy or so dependent on being the first to send in the right answer, but why risk it?
There's lots of ways to view RSS feeds, but I recommend Bloglines or Google Reader because they're web-based RSS readers (and so you can access them from any computer).

Tempted yet? Sign up for the feed, and if you're happy with it, use it. If not, it's no big deal... I just think you'd be cheating yourself not to.

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