RSS ( Really Simple Syndication) is a way to keep up with the changing content of the web sites you are interested in. When you subscribe to the RSS feed of a web site, you are alerted to new content on that web site.
Citation searching is another way of exploring the literature
It allows you to search forwards in time, so when you find an article normally you are following links backwards, i.e. who has that paper cited, so previous research that has been done. Citation searching allows you to see who has cited that article and how the original research has been taken forwards.
So it allows you to trace the history and evolution of research.
You can either search by a topic area, or you can take seminal paper in your field and see how research has evolved around that seminal paper.
You can use citation searching in Scopus, Web of Science, IEEE Xplore and Google Scholar.
Researchers are as likely to communicate via social media as by traditional scholarly communication methods.
This makes engagement with social media a very useful way of keeping up to date with the latest research.
Some researchers will use social media to update their followers on their latest findings or thoughts which may then progress into an academic paper or conference proceeding.
There are lots of different media that could be used but the key ones are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. Also look out for blogs written by researchers.