RSS & Twitter (Class Notes)


A short video about RSS:


What Is RSS?

  • Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.9x)
  • Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.x)
  • RDF Site Summary (RSS 0.9 and 1.0)
  • family of XML based web-content distribution and republication (Web syndication) protocols
  • originally imagined for syndication of news content and blogs
  • machine-readable Meta-Data (although actual content can be contained in the RSS feed)

All based on XML: highly structured markup language.
Strict adherence to structure=easy consumption

Components of an RSS Feed

  • Channel (title, link, description, image)
  • Item (title, link, description, category, comments, enclosure)

One Feed=One Channel=Multiple Items

Example of a Feed

Software/Services that can “read” an RSS feed (and deliver it to user in some meaningful way)

  • Browser/s (extensions)
  • Web services (Google Reader)
  • Standalone programs (NetNewsWire)
  • WordPress
  • Yahoo! Pipes (can be used to remix/change/add to feeds)


A short video:


  • Launched in March of 2006
  • 300 million users as of 2011

In April 2010, the Library of Congress acquired the entire Twitter archive.

Famous Tweets:

Kinds of Messages:

  • “Standard” tweets
  • @messages
  • Direct Messages

Following vs Being Followed

People can follow you and you can follow people. They are not necessarily the same.

Protected vs Unprotected Tweets

It is possible to “lock-down” your tweets, meaning that you must approve anyone who wants to follow you. When you choose this option, your tweets won’t show up in any kind of public feeds.


  • Organize activities on Twitter (#educon)
  • Have a distributed conversation around a topic/idea (#SOTU)
  • Comment upon something ironic/funny/interesting in the tweet (#Fail)

Twitter Syntax

  • @
  • #
  • //
  • [+]
  • RT/MT

Most importantly: 140 Characters

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