Reasons Why Google+ is Already Better than Facebook

So I almost felt obligated at this point to do a post about Google+ just because it really wasn’t what I was expecting from Google. What I was expecting from Google was another failed attempt at doing something social (they do have a good long history of trying social networking and missing big time), but this time I think they created something that just might work long term. Of course, it works, because basically they finally developed a format stream that is just like Facebook except without much of the garbage that is Facebook. When (not if) Google adds an iPhone AND an iPad app they will have surpassed Facebook, at least in functionality.

When Zuckerberg made the statement that the iPad was not a mobile device, and therefore Facebook would not be developing an app for the iPad, he pretty much told everyone using Facebook that Facebook is whatever Zuckerberg says it is. Google, even though they seem to have the biggest rival with Apple, can no doubt see beyond this and will very quickly release apps for the iPhone and iPad. Once Google+ hits the iPhone/iPad users they will grow at an alarming rate. It’s the “mobile” users that will feed Google+ and the easier Google makes it to use on ANY mobile device the faster they will grow Google+. The misses right now with Google+ remain the lack of an iPhone app and some other minor functionality issues like being able to hide comments in a stream, being able to view several circle streams at the same time, and at the moment people. The people thing is a plus and a minus at the same time. The millions and millions of masses on Facebook are what makes Facebook work. Google+ has a different genre of people right now and I don’t see that as a bad thing, but they do need more buy in.

Why is Google+ better than Facebook already?

  • No Ads
    so far (who knows how long this will last) there are no ads, anywhere. This is top on my list, and key. This is why I like twitter, this is why the experience on Google+ is better right from the start. All that junk on Facebook’s sidebars is the worst. You never know what’s going to come up but you know you don’t want to look at it.
  • No Spam
    Facebook and spam go together like spam in a can, or something like that. Spam is not the telemarketer calling you at dinner anymore. Spam is ANYTHING sent to you unsolicited. Facebook is full of this stuff from Mafia Wars to stupid games and poll questions, event invites, and all the other stuff that clutters up your feed stream with stuff you don’t want to look at. The stuff you do want to read is so buried in the mess of Facebook I often just give up trying to find actual real high quality content.
  • Design is Cleaner
    everything is cleaner, but making a cleaner design makes it easier to read, has less clutter, call it whatever you want but Google+ is just flat out easier on the eyes. Google has long since prided itself on simplicity of design, and in this case it works so much better than Facebook
  • Messaging System
    while Facebook has been vastly improving their messaging system, trying to overtake email, the message system on Facebook has always been one of their weakest points, and until recently, no one wanted to look at that inbox, it was just annoying. Google+ has made sending a message to a single person, or a select group, extremely easy. I would expect this since Google has built it’s non-search business around Gmail, but Google+ has the potential to be able to do away with email all together.
  • Integrates with Google Everything
    this is a no-brainer but it’s worth pointing out. There are some things I like better off Google, like their photo system Picasa (Flickr still has better functionality) but overall everything you do throughout the day is basically run on Google’s cloud anyway, you are already there, so adding Google+ isn’t too much of a burden.
  • People Who Don’t Like Social Networking Will Like Google+
    there are still some people that are not attached to a social network at all (really, I know this for a fact). For those people, Google+ is a way into that social networking circle without being in Facebook or Twitter. For many (or most) of these people they are already on Google. They use Google, they use Gmail, they are familiar with Google and in some ways have a trust built with them as a company. If you aren’t on Facebook or Twitter or anything else, you are probably already on Google, and Google will make trying Google+ a breeze for the non-adopters.
  • It isn’t Facebook
    there are many people who just hate Facebook, for them, this isn’t Facebook and that is good enough for them.
  • It is Google
    this is just like the Apple vs Android thing. Some people think Apple is straight from the devil himself and think Android is not. Facebook has a lot of “you are the devil” fans so being anything but Facebook is a plus.
  • It’s New and Has a Lot of Potential
    everyone doesn’t necessarily like change but new is always a big seller. Since every company puts out products or services today that are a work in progress (beta) and not a final completed entity, Google will continue to develop and improve Google+. Yes I know Facebook does this too, but they seem to take 2 steps forward and one step back and make everyone mad in the process.
  • Facebook still Doesn’t Give you Ownership of Your Data
    some will say Google doesn’t either, but they have made far more progress in this realm than Facebook has, and Facebook has no intention of ever letting go of your data. Every time you put content on Facebook instead of your own blog or somewhere that you have access to your own data you are building up the mother ship, not your own history. Google+ has a really cool download data set functionality that will probably improve over time. Facebook has nothing. Facebook owns everything you put on there and you own nothing.
So there you have it. I am sure there are plenty of other points I could make but those are my first and initial observations after using Google+ for about a week now. What has your Google+ experience been so far? If you need an invite just send me an email and I will send one over.

Your Blog's Uniqueness Rests With Your Story

What makes your blog (or Facebook page for those who don’t blog) unique, and therefore something someone else might want to read, learn from, or connect with on a personal level?

I’m always looking for ways to make my blog more “authentic” more “unique” for lack of a better phrase. If you blog for any length of time at all you will start to develop your own style and patterns, but you also start to put up barriers to your own writing without even knowing it. Those barriers for me end up being mechanical and personal.

Barriers To Writing, Blogging, or Social Networking

Mechanically, it has to look perfect, be grammatically correct, have a photo sized properly, with a searchable title, tags, and links. This just comes from blogging for almost 10 years, I do this almost without thinking, but it takes time, and it limits what I end up posting. If I just posted whatever I wanted without worrying about the mechanical functionality of the site I would probably post twice as much. Maybe that is a good thing after all.

Personally, I struggle with how much I say or don’t say with each post. It’s strange because Deborah who is far less personal in real life is sometimes more personal on her own blog and its vice-versa for me. I split up my own blog into basically four sections, one of those sections, called the Journal Category where I try to put my ongoing story or walk. Sometimes this works sometimes it doesn’t.

You are What’s Unique About Your Story

All that to say what makes blog articles or even posts to Facebook and Twitter unique is you, your story. It’s like no other. There is only one you and your experiences are different from everyone else. When I write an article about a new piece of technology or a review about a book I read, someone has inevitably already done that. It’s unique in my own way because my experience with that computer or book is different from someone else, but there is something different about posts from the heart about important issues that go on in their life. I love that. It’s authentic, it’s genuine, and it’s somewhat less filtered than anything I write.

I hope those bloggers below take this as a compliment and not a cut down but I have a very short, small list of blogs on my rss feed reader in a group that that I call my “a-list” (which purposely doesn’t include anyone I work with). These bloggers write straight from their hearts to the page. No fancy photos much of the time, no special SEO keywords for titles or content, traffic or stats to them seem basically unimportant, and for the most part design and platform are secondary concerns (although I will say the guys for some reason are far more concerned about design than the woman). I haven’t asked any of them this of course, it’s just a guess.

Somehow they have each individually captured my attention with the genuine manner in which they talk about their life. Funny most of them are woman. Seems that most men don’t want to talk about their personal life too much. The majority of my rss feeds are from the guys, but when it comes to being genuine and personal, the ladies do a far better job than we do.

So each time they do a blog post, I get to learn from them how to be a better blogger and writer, and hopefully how to better connect with other people. A great example of this is a post today that looks at the struggles of deep we get involved in the social networking of today instead of getting involved in people face to face. It’s a great look at why we blog, post on Facebook, and everything else that goes with being alive today, but it’s real.

So I say thanks to them here for helping me to continue to develop my blog and writing in a way that is real, genuine, and hopefully in a way that will connect with other people in a real way. I hope you might take a few minutes to scan through their blogs as well. The list below is their main blog address and their latest post.

How to Create a Twitter Favorites RSS Feed

twitter-rss-birdIf you haven’t had time to get into Twitter yet you might want to jump over there and do a Twitter crash course before you read this post, but for others who are already knee deep in Twitter, how effectively are you using this great service?  There are so many aspects to Twitter that can be utilized that the deeper I go in Twitter the more I find.

One thing I started really using lately is the “favorites” feature on Twitter.  If you haven’t given this much thought, the favorites feature is a great way to start to bookmark those really great posts you see and don’t want to forget.  Once you start to mark tweets as favorites (or star them) you need some good way to get back to the information at some point.  I was marking the posts on Twitter I didn’t want to forget but never went back to look at them.  So, this is how you can take the Twitter favorites and pull the RSS feed from Twitter into your favorite RSS feed reader.


First thing you want to do is start marking your favorite tweets.  You can do this in TweetDeck or in the basic browser application by clicking on the star icon when you mouse over a tweet.  Then, follow these steps below to start pulling your Twitter favorites feed (if you want the short version just read step 1 and that should do it).

1. Create the Twitter Favorite Feed in RSS Reader

This doesn’t seem to be published on any Twitter help pages or anywhere else, but you can grab your favorites feed (or anyone else’s for that matter) by using the address:[insert_your_ID_here].rss , so to pull an rss feed of my twitter favorites, you would place the url  Just drop this url in your feed reader and it works just like any other feed.

For more information on actually pulling RSS feeds from Twitter that are posted by Twitter (that would be the friends timeline, profile page, @replies page, and the home page, you can visit How do I find my Twitter rss feed? from Twitter support.  You can also read an older post of my called Add Value to Your Blog, Offer an RSS Feed in Reverse if you really want to look at some different rss feed stuff.

If you question after reading this is what in the world is an RSS feed Brad Ruggles has compiled some of the popular how-to YouTube videos on what is an rss feed, twitter, and blogs.  You can see that here.

2. Make Your RSS Feed Public (optional step)

You can now use it in any way you would use a normal rss feed.  So do some cool things with it like make it a public feed or as a blogroll on your site.  You can see the results below, those are live and updated as I mark items as favorites.


You can do this (if you use Google Reader) by going to the “manage feeds” link in your reader, then choosing the tag where you placed the rss feed to be public, then either choose to “add a clip to your site” or “add a blogroll to your site” and it will give you a piece of code to use where ever you like. The list below is my last 5 favorites (when they are placed in your RSS Reader they won’t clip after a certain number of characters like they do below).

3. Use What You Have Created

One reason to use the favorites options is to mark the genius in Twitter.  There is a lot of information to be gained from Twitter, but it isn’t really from Twitter, it is from the people who post to Twitter.  Many people take the time to post very useful information and actually create value in their 140 characters.  You can find new websites, new ideas, new ways of doing things that you may not have ever thought about before seeing them on Twitter.

Update March 2011

Obviously much have changed in the way twitter functions over the last few years, but I think you will find this information still relavant and useful. Another great post on the subject can be found over at ProfHacker called Managing Twitter Feeds as well.

Is Your Favorite Faith Based Blog on This List?

What are your favorite faith based blogs you read?  I have a few different categories in my mind of blogs I read.  I have a total list, which includes some of my friends blogs and some of my favorite faith based blogs, and more I just flip through on a daily or weekly basis.  I have a few blogs I read (this would be across all categories) that are really bad, but for some reason I have some fascination with what they will post next because the blog is so bad (poor design, format, sentence or grammar structure and so on).  I call these train wreck blogs because I can’t help but read them for some reason.

I won’t mention any of my personal favorite train wreck blogs but there is one blog I have been reading quite a bit called which has a lot of fresh, well written content, plus his job listings are interestingg reading to me.  I have to give my blogroll award to Brody Harper who has one of the best blogrolls on the side of his blog and he always has something interesting going on over there (see his latest Positive Post Tuesday-Outdoor Encounter).  Below you will find my current faith based blogroll for today, Tuesday, September 2, 2008.  This list below is static, but my list changes daily.  For the most current and up to date list, see Faith Blogroll.  Is your blog on this list?  No?  Well post it in the comments so we can all take a look and add it to our feed readers.

The list above is obviously in alphabetical order, but it is a list of blogs I frequent.  There are so many that I have not come across yet, but to those above, thanks so much for putting so much effort into your blogs, I really enjoy reading them.  Keep in mind, even if you never receive a single comment, there are people who read your blog, so write your posts with that in mind.

Updates and Changes to Google Reader

Google finally made some improvements to their rss feed reader, Google Reader yesterday, but, now my feeds are all messed up. Most of the changes pertain to the iPhone and the interface it uses to show the rss reader functions.

Having an iPhone, I have been waiting for this for a long time, and the new interface is great. I can’t wait to use it when I am traveling next week. You can read the updates here at Brand new Google Reader for iPhone and also Google interface for the iPhone at Macworld and there is more than just the look and feel that has changed.

Changes to Web Version of Reader

I didn’t read to much about changes made to the web version of Google reader, but now, all my “read” items are not showing in my feeds. The only way to get these read items back, that I can tell, is to unsubscribe to each feed one at a time (and I have over 600 feeds) and then add it right back.

When you do this, it pulls in all the feeds from previous posts, plus all the rest you hadn’t seen in a while. If you keep scrolling down, it will keep downloading new feeds. Without doing this step though, once you read the current feed in a subscription, the window shows nothing at all.

I hope that Google fixes this soon, I reference different feeds all the time, and most are feeds I have already read. Anyone else having this problem with this update?

Cool New Feature

One thing they did add was a link in the upper right corner that says show details. This is great, you can click on this link and it will now show you the average number of posts per week for this feed, and also how many subscribers.

Of course, I checked out some of my own blogs and they all said 2 subscribers and 0.0 posts per week. Now I don’t have many subscribers, but I have more than two. I also have several blogs I update on a daily basis, so it is a cool feature, but not quite working yet, perhaps.

Has anyone else seen any other updates to Google Reader over the last few days?

Top 10 Stars of the Week, May 5

This is my normal weekend link love list from my starred items in my rss feed reader. There were way to many to list this week but a few stood out and I have them listed below. Thanks for a good week of reading to those below.

There were to many to dial it down to 10, so here are the top 15 for you.

Top 10 15 Stars of the Week, April 29 – May 5

via Vandelay Website Design by Vandelay Design on 4/28/08 This post was written by Jacob Gube of Six Revisions. Flash is unparalleled when it comes to providing users a highly rich,

via SEO – by Aaron Wall on 4/29/08 Welcome to GoogleNet! Hitwise recently mentioned that Google controls over 1/3 of UK web traffic.

via Daily Blog Tips by Daniel Scocco on 4/29/08 Bloggers and webmasters know that every single visitor helps to build up traffic, right? If that is the case, you should make sure that Google

via Google Operating System by Ionut Alex Chitu on 4/29/08

via Online Marketing Blog by Lee Odden on 4/29/08 Online Marketing Blog manages a list of over 500 search marketing blogs called the BIGLIST, but it’s not ordered other than

via Blogging Experiment by Max Davis on 4/29/08 Ah, how great it must be to be a make money “guru”, right?

via Chad Jarnagin by chad on 4/29/08

via Elance Blog by Guest_Blogger on 4/29/08 No doubt you’ve heard a lot about Facebook, and you might have even read Anita Campbell’s most recent blog post about why you

via ProBlogger Blog Tips by Darren Rowse on 4/30/08 Today I was scanning through some emails from readers and it struck me that so many of those that I hear from are suffering from a

via SEO – by Aaron Wall on 4/30/08 Summize is a conversational search engine which allows you to search Twitter in realtime. Useful for finding customer feedback even

via ProBlogger Blog Tips by Darren Rowse on 5/1/08 Yesterday I wrote about the problem of blogger inferiority complex and how often as bloggers we can limit our potential by defining ourselves negatively.

via techipedia | tamar weinberg by Tamar Weinberg on 5/1/08 Last month, I wrote about the ease of FriendFeed to spy on your friends. In other words, I can check someone’s Friendfeed page and

via Network Blogging Tips by Jennifer on 5/2/08 Sometimes the plain old blog post, seems well, plain and old. Spice up your blog with a variety of posts.

via Xefer on 5/1/08 Below is a segment from a scatter plot generated using a specific Twitter user’s “tweet” data, gathered via Yahoo Pipes and rendered

via openswitch by Ben Gray on 5/4/08 I’m addicted to Twitter. And ever since Adobe released the alpha version of AIR for Linux I’ve been eager to try some of the Twitter

Top 10 Stars of the Week, April 28

I am going to try to get back to doing this post once a week like I use to do, but for now, here is the latest version of this past weeks starred items from my Google Reader. A complete list is shown on the sidebar to the far right, but these are some posts from the previous week that caught my eye.

It is really amazing how many quality blogs there are now. I now have 686 feeds in my reader. Yes, not all are quite the premium material, but with so many good articles to choose from it is hard to narrow it down to 10, but, here they are.

Top 10 Stars of the week of April 21st

via ProBlogger Blog Tips by Darren Rowse on 4/22/08

image by Jeff Bauche

Yesterday I wrote about being a ruthless blogger and named a number of areas that I find helpful to have more harsh boundaries in with the hope of it helping me become more productive and focused…

via The Blog Entrepreneur by Bill on 4/21/08

If you are trying to make money blogging then you have no doubt become well versed with the typical methods that bloggers use to try and make money online. The problem is that you and every other one

via by Ades on 4/23/08

Author info: This is a guest post by Alan Johnson, the author of The Online Business Handbook. If you are interested in reading about something, you can rest assured that the information you are looking for is just one click away. If you want to talk to someone, all you have to do is pick up…

via ProBlogger Blog Tips by Darren Rowse on 4/24/08

@happygirl08 asks about how to – “get more relevant readers to your blog/ mailing list??”

Good question – some bloggers tend to focus on getting more…

via FreelanceSwitch – The Freelance Blog by on 4/26/08

Freelancing can be a rewarding career, with many benefits over being a salaried employee. But success in freelancing means there are a lot of things you shouldn’t do – things I’ve done over the past twenty…

via Shoemoney – Skills To Pay The Bills by ShoeMoney on 4/27/08

Cathlyn asks:

For affiliate newbies, should they really by By Rosalind Gardner’s book, the Super Affiliate Handbook? (?? Yes, even knowing you are…

via ProBlogger Blog Tips by Darren Rowse on 4/28/08

This past few days have seen me experimenting with a new type of post here at ProBlogger – Speed Posting.

I set myself the challenge to answer 20 or so questions from my…

via Caroline Middlebrook by Caroline Middlebrook on 4/28/08

What is Forced Continuity?

I had not actually heard of the term “forced continuity” before last week even though I have encountered it many times. It is where you…

via Bruce Clay, Inc. Blog by Lisa Barone on 4/28/08

Hey, friends. We’ve got a busy week ahead here at Bruce Clay, so let’s just jump right into some of the big stories of the day. Grab a…

via Blogging Tips by Elaine Ramos on 4/28/08

If you are looking for additional way to add spice into your blog, why not try having guest bloggers?

Guest bloggers could be considered as another way of livening up the blog since it brings a fresh voice and at the same adds value to the…

Add Value to a Blog by Offering an RSS Feed in Reverse

Scott Fillmer Starred ItemsHow many feeds to you have in your reader? All of them, right. I just hit the 300+ mark this week and counting, so I don’t quite have all of them yet, but I am working on it. Have you ever subscribed to what someone else is reading instead of what someone else is writing?

Have you ever offered a feed for your own shared or starred items? If not, you might want to consider adding one of these less used features and give some added value to your readers. I am always fascinated with what others are reading, not just with what other bloggers are writing and I subscribe to a few reader’s feeds. These are not always easy to find because not to many people post their reader feeds, and I am not sure how well this works in any reader other than Google Reader.

How Shared Items Work

Google Reader SettingsThese feeds come in the way of the shared items in a users readers. When someone reads a feed and clicks on the shared link at the bottom of the feed it sends out its own feed based on that user. It also provides an actual page where those feeds go, but who needs that if there is a feed. It works the same with starred items, but these are usually private feeds. To make it public, you just need to go to manage feeds => tags, then just change sharing from private to public. Once you do that you will be able to view the public page and add a clip (or widget) to your site.

Why Offer This To Your Readers

You may ask why anyone would want to offer this in the first place? It doesn’t monetize your blog or site, this feed doesn’t even keep the visitors on my site, it takes them somewhere else, and it isn’t something you wrote. Well, that is probably why you don’t see to many of these feeds anywhere. But, I do think it gives your reader some added value that you don’t find on many other blogs.

Your Name Follows the Feed

When you create this feed link, either in feedburner or just the long url provided by Google, you add your name to the feed. For example, the feed for my shared items is and when the visitor adds the feed to their reader, the name of the feed, Scott Fillmer’s shared items in Google Reader, follows.

Feed Name Follows SubscriptionEvery single time the user looks at the feed, it shows the name of the feed and puts a little reminder in the mind of the reader as to where the feed came from. One of the feeds I subscribe to is called “rksmythe’s starred items”. He updates his starred items a few times a day so even if he didn’t post an article himself that day, I am reminded of his blog, My Blog Utopia.

Updated More Often Than Post Schedule

As you can imagine, these feeds will be updated a little more often than a normal posting schedule, unless you only read one good article a day. This adds to the readers list of “things to read” but it also puts your blogs name in front of the reader much more often than it would if the reader were only reading your once a day (or less) articles.

Offer Something a Little Personal to Your Readers

Some of us try very hard to stay on topic and write serious articles or copywriter material for all our posts. This will give you an opportunity to let go a little bit and show something a little more personal to your readers. I think we all like a little insight into the lives of the blogs we read, and offering something like this will show your readers there is a real person behind the screen.

Find Different Blogs You Have Never Read

One of the advantages from the subscribers perspective is that no one is going to share or star the exact same items, so you often find different blogs and sites you have never seen before. I am amazed at how many high quality blogs I have come across that were found just because someone else starred or shared the article.

Scott Fillmer RSS Feed IconsI do find it very interesting to see what other people read, and I learn quite a bit by looking at a different perspective. So, if you haven’t tried offering a feed from your Google Reader give it a try. At least I will be able to add another reader feed to my list and get to see what you read, you already know what I read.

You don’t have to do something that takes over your blog or something as overwhelmingly obvious that competes with your normal feed icon. I use two very small rss icons aimed at the more savvy users. I figure those who can see it and understand what it is are the readers I wanted to offer this feed to anyway.

What do you think? Do you subscribe to a reader feed? Did you know this was even an option?

Update: The Google Blog just published an article, Attack of the 20%’ers, that goes show some detail about how to use these features, if you want some further reading on the subject.

Find New Blogs Using RSS Search Feeds Readers

Google Blog Search I have read several blog posts here and there that suggest that there aren’t many good ham radio blogs (or insert specific topic here), and certainly not many that are updated very frequently. This may be the case, the old 80%/20% rule where 80% of the blogs on the Internet are just junk not worth your time need help, and 20% actually have good, updated content.

I thought this was the case until I started utilizing my feed reader in a search format, then I found out that it wasn’t that there were no blogs that had good content, it was that I couldn’t find them. Of course some good SEO would help, but that is a topic for a different post. I am sure everyone has their own list of blogs that they look at, but this is a good way to find those blogs that don’t have such high traffic ratings that everyone can find them, (perhaps because it is a new blog on a new topic [like this one] and it just hasn’t built up a subscriber list yet), one ones that could be just slightly off topic of what you normally read, (and there are tons of those) in any subject or combinations of subjects.

If you look at the screen shots shown here it gives you an idea of a search feed on a reader. I used Google Reader here just because that is the one I happen to use but I have seen other examples of this search function being used and might post some others when I get a chance.

If you are not familiar with a feed reader, or an RSS feed, (also called an ATOM feed) you can visit the Google Reader link above for an explanation. What is different about a search feed than just a normal rss feed you would get off a website or blog is that you would normally subscribe to a specific blog’s url not a search string. For example, this blogs url for the rss feed is (you can also just type in the main address line url and paste it into your reader as well and that usually works).

In stead of a specific url, you subscribe to the search term, and the results are all blogs you haven’t subscribed to before and many you probably haven’t even seen.

Here is a short step by step below using Google’s reader and blog search function as an example.

  1. Get Google Reader if you don’t have it and subscribe to a few feeds from various blogs using the add subscription link on the left side
  2. Go to Google’s Blog Search and put in a search term of interest (like ham radio <—- see results from link)
  3. Do not use the term blog in the search, it will narrow the results to far
  4. If you like the results scroll to the bottom of the screen (if not start over)
  5. At the bottom, click on the link that says “Subscribe to a blog search feed for [ham radio] in Google Reader
  6. It will then take you to your Google Reader with the option to subscribe.
  7. It is a good idea to create a folder for the search feeds to keep them separated from your other feeds too.

If you look at the two screen shots here, they show the link at the bottom by the red arrow, and the other highlights the top results where it says related blogs. The red arrow is where you want to subscribe to that feed search term. The results at the top are good blogs to start with if you want to check out the results of the search term before adding it to your reader, but you can always removed it at a later date.

Google Blog Search

Google Blog Search Results

I hope that helps explain how to subscribe to a blog search term in your reader. There is much more to the blog search and I will try to highlight some more features in upcoming posts.