What is RSS?
Simply put, rss is a way of allowing you to be kept informed of updates to your favourite sites in a way that suits you. If a site has an rss feed, then you can 'subscribe' to it and in that way be provided with a summary of any updates, which usually includes a brief description of the articles or stories added with a link to the content that's been updated.
You then use some form of software called an 'aggregator' to pull this feed, and any others to which you've subscribed, into one place. Rather than then visiting every site to see what has changed, you can view the output in real time and always know when your favourite sites have been updated, and can also choose whether or not to follow links to the updated content.
Sounds cool. How do I use it?
What you can't do in most cases is open the feed and have it make sense in your browser, the way that a web page does. They're intended to be interpreted by other software, and so you'll usually be asked to download the page or it will open up but look like a lot of code.
There are, however, a variety of ways to use feeds. Here are some of the most common:
Some browsers, such as Firefox, Opera or Safari, let you subscribe to feeds, and then they display them through bookmarks or input aggregators. Firefox, for example, will show a little, orange icon in the right hand corner of the status bar at the bottom of the page. If you click on it, it offers you the option of subscribing to the feed, which it does by adding it to your bookmarks.
Your browser help page will give you more information on how to do this.
Please note that Internet Explorer does not currently support rss feeds without additional software.
If you have a livejournal, you can add syndicated feeds to your friends page in much the same way as communities or other users. A syndicated feed has already been added to LiveJournal, and can be found at wraithbait_feed. As far as I know, feed accounts haven't yet been any other blogger sites, but if you'd like to set up a syndicated account, and know how to do so, please feel free. If you do, please let me know so that I can update the site accordingly. Thank you.
The url you will need to input is http://www.penumbris.com/archive/rss.php
Again, the url to input into your software is http://www.wraithbait.com/rss.php or you can click and drag the url from the RSS image on the front page to your software. You can get (often free) software that will enable you to read feeds like this from sites such as Tucows or SnapFiles.
Many thanks to Alyse for helping me sort out this feed and this help file.