An RSS reader is software that goes out and automatically checks for new updates to websites that publish an RSS feed (usually blogs). It’s a form of syndication. If you look at the very bottom of this blog you’ll see a link to the RSS feed for both new posts as well as new comments. The advantage of using an RSS reader is that you don’t have to continually check the site for new updates – your reader will check it for you automatically and notify you if there are new updates. You can configure the reader to check as many blogs as you wish and as often as you wish.
One possible disadvantage to the website when people use RSS readers is that because the reader displays the post and pictures, most users will just read the post from within the reader as opposed to actually going to the website to read the post. The reason why this is a disadvantage to the website is because the blog likely won’t get as many comments when people use RSS readers (not that this blog gets very many comments but the few that we do get are nice to have).
My RSS reader is built into my internet browser (Opera). If you are using Firefox it also has a built in RSS reader. If you use Internet Explorer then you’ll have to either download an RSS reader (check here for a list) or you can use something like Google Reader which is totally web based.