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

May 1st is RSS Feed Awareness Day Get Your RSS Reader Ready

So, today seems to be deemed RSS Feed awareness day (or RSS Day) and I had been contacted several times about trying to do a quick post on rss (Really Simple Syndication) feeds. It seems that many people are unaware of the importance, or usefulness of an rss feed, so now is your chance to see what it is all about.

As far as a blog goes, it is probably the single most important feature of your blog, and as a reader, it saves time and effort. Each time a favorite blog of yours updates their content, it sends out a rss feed, which can be read through a free program like Google Reader.

Almost all blogs utilize an rss feed, and now you can generally pull a feed from just about anywhere. There are feeds for news sites, blogs, hobbies, just about anything with active content. This is probably the best video out there on RSS Feeds, so give it quick look, it can explain a feed better than I can. Don’t forget to sign up for my rss feeds, located at the top right corner of the menu at the top. As you look at the drop down, you will have a link to each blog I author, each with its own separate rss feed. In order to read the content of each post, you will need to subscribe to each blog individually.

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…

Merry Christmas to Everyone on the Top 15 List

I am replacing my normal Monday morning top 15 list with a holiday greeting for everyone this week.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas and holiday season.  I have taken some time off writing, as many of the bloggers have, and I am getting ready to gear up for next year. There have been some really interesting articles written over the last and I am going to include those in my normal weekly post on Monday when everything gets ramped back up again. Until then, I hope everyone has a wonderful and restful time this week.

Top 15 Stars of the Week, December 3

This was a busy week for me and I didn’t get much posting done but my reader subscriptions were busy as ever. Looks like my feeds to a big jump this week to 498 feeds, but there were several added that were in a specific niche market for a website I am developing.

If you are not familiar with this list, each Monday morning I create a list of the top 15 posts from my reader from last week. You can see the entire list from the footer in the center where it says “starred items”. I am going to get right to the list since there were so many good articles posted last week.

Top 15 21 Stars of the week of Nov 26th to Dec 3rd

The Nasty Four-Letter Word That Keeps You From Writing

via Copyblogger by Brian Clark on 11/26/07

When it comes to the things that keep us from writing, you’ll see the usual villains pop up. Lack of time is a big one, as are the various other life distractions that take us away from the keyboard.

Writing for Multiple Blogs

via Vandelay Website Design by Vandelay Design on 11/26/07

Many bloggers either own multiple blogs or they write for others as well as their own. Those who aren’t writing for other blogs are missing out on a great opportunity to gain exposure and network with influential bloggers. For a few months I was posting 5-6 times per

Continue reading “Top 15 Stars of the Week, December 3”

Top 20 Stars of the Week, November 12

Chipseo Starred Items of the WeekThis has been another interesting week online, especially with the latest posts flying around about selling RSS subscribers and what not.

If you are new to this blog and this weekly post, each Monday I post a top 15 list of my starred items from the previous 7 days, as starred in my feed reader, Google Reader. This week it happens to be a top 20 list. This post also serves as a week in review recap of sorts as well, so keep reading and you will find the top 20 stars of the week at the bottom. My subscriber feeds that I read (not that are subscribed to my blog) are up to 339 now, I think I added about 15 this week. I can get through just about all of them each day in one way or another, but with this many, I may have to start a top 15 dud (not dude) list as well.

New Free Footer Link Love Added

I just finished a new footer of sorts that will be an extension to my post, Add Value to Your Blog, Offer an RSS Feed in Reverse, where I use the feeds in my Google Reader to create a blog roll from my public reader feeds. I added this to just show what I think are some of the better articles posted for the week.

At the moment, it will show the three feeds, my shared items, my starred items, and blogs of interest. The last one is a list of blogs I find interesting and wanted to offer some free link love. What is different about that page over a normal blog roll is that it offers a combined feed for all the blogs on the blog roll and a link to each individual blog. Now, if Google will just get it together and make these “pages” where we can customize them and add Adsense feeds to them you will probably see everyone using them. It generates some cool content and is a need way to keep an updated list of the movers and shakers in your particular interest field.

I haven’t figured out what the problem with viewing these feeds in Safari is (all other browsers look fine), just can’t get them to show up, so if anyone has a quick suggestion that would be great. What I really wanted was the Hemingway footer blocks in plugin form but I don’t think one exists, so this will have to do for now.

This Past Week in Review

This past week saw the first annual BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas and from all the posts about the events, it looked like it was a great conference and I will have a post about it later in the week. There is still talk about another PageRank (PR) update over the weekend from Google from a few different blog, although we didn’t see any change ourselves.

Something else that just came up is a new money making scheme exposed by an article, This Months Stupid Cow Award, and Being A Fake Is Harmful For Millions of People Who Want To Learn How To Make Money Online, about selling RSS readers. Some seem to have no problem with, but for the most part I think legitimate bloggers have voiced their opinion in opposition to this practice. I think it is going to bring the wrath of Google in the form of PR penalties down the road, and perhaps even Feedburner for trying to sell RSS subscribers (real or fake, couldn’t tell), besides deceiving the readers of the participating blogs.

Top 15 20 Stars of the week of Nov 5th-11th

Attack of the 20%’ers

via Official Google Reader Blog by dolapo on 11/6/07

At Google, 20% time is core to our culture and today’s Reader release incorporates features developed by two engineers in their 20% time. Those two engineers would be us!

Answers to Questions for Rand: Round 2

via SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog by randfish on 11/6/07

Posted by randfish

Sorry it’s taken me so long to get to all of these. The past few days trying to get grounded after a week in Stockholm have been even

So who’s doing all this searching anyway?

via Compete Blog by Jeremy Crane on 11/7/07

For the past few weeks I’ve been peeling back the layers on the search onion to understand a few questions. How effective are each of the engines? How do people use search? Who is using search?

SitePoint Afffiliate Program pays $98.00

via by Ades on 11/7/07

We all have tried Amazon’s affiliate program with no or little success, didn’t we? But if your visitors are mainly web programmers, you might want to give Sitepoint Affiliate Program a try ( Because the earnings for every book

Court talks scents in trademark case

via TameBay by Sue Bailey on 11/7/07

eBay have won their suit for trademark dilution against Three judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a lower court’s ruling from September 2005 that the similarity of the two domain names could encourage users to

Thriving as a B-list Blogger

via Bruce Clay, Inc. Blog by Lisa Barone on 11/8/07

Leading this one are Jeremy Wright and Allen Stern to talk about attitudes regarding B-list bloggers.

Jeremy says there’s not a lot of value being added by A-listers. There are better sites than TechCrunch and Read/WriteWeb out there. Blogging is about creating your personal A-list and reaching your own

Are You a Link Whore?

via Randa Clay Design by Randa on 11/8/07

Since the whole I Follow Movement thing last spring, there have been lists of blogs published with titles like “10 High PR I Follow Blogs” encouraging readers to visit and comment, and “be sure it doesn’t look too spammy or it might get deleted.” Now that page rank has

10 Reasons I Delete Your Email

via Shoemoney – Skills To Pay The Bills by ShoeMoney on 11/8/07

1) Start it with “Dear Sirs,”


2) Spell my name wrong.

You want to make misspellings? Thats

10 Reasons You Are Not Getting Comments

via Wayne Liew Dot Com by Wayne Liew on 11/7/07

I am sure that every blogger loves to see comments on their blogs. I am somehow lucky to get comments in each and every one of my posts on Wayne Liew Dot Com but some bloggers is facing problems

StumbleUpon Get Their Own (Unofficial) Top 100 List

via Average Joe Blogger by Nate (Average Joe Blogger) on 11/6/07

Top100 lists have always been an intriguing look into what makes a super user. Whether they be the top money makers, top digg users or top whatever, they’re always fascinating.

5 Reasons Why Blogging Sucks

via Blogging Bits by Mohsin on 11/7/07

You thought blogging is all fun and money? Well, that’s not quite true.

Instigator blog published an excellent list of not-so-fancy aspects of freelancing, so I thought since blogging, and especially problogging, is a freelance activity, I’ll list the cons of problogging.

Blogger’s Guide to Creating Better Content

via Vandelay Website Design by Vandelay Design on 11/8/07

Yesterday I wrote about the effects of creative blog content. Now that you know about all the benefits that come with creative content you may be wondering what you can do to improve your posts.

Use Feedburner Statistics to Interpret Reader Habits

via ProBlogger Blog Tips by Darren Rowse on 11/9/07

Can your Feedburner stats reveal habits of your readers that could help you make your blogging more effective at reaching them? Guest poster Max Pool finds out.

As we know FeedBurner counts can naturally fluctuate.

The 7 deadly sins of instant messaging

via 43 Folders by Chanpory on 11/9/07

I heart instant messaging, but I heart it too much. If you’re a chat addict like me, you understand the lure. It’s convenient, connecting you to faraway buddies with little cost. It’s safe, releasing you from

Blog World 2007: Paid Text Links, Google, and You

via W Revenue dot Com by Scott on 11/9/07

I’m at Blog World Expo today in Las Vegas. It’s a new and fairly small conference, but it is packed full of sessions and a lot of big time Internet business folks are here: Leo Laporte (of TechTV and TWiT Podcast fame) gave the

BloggingZoom Sucks More Than BlogRush

via Web 2.0 How-To Spot-er by TheSpot-er on 11/9/07

BloggingZoom is a hot new comer to social networking scene that allows bloggers exchange traffic by presenting their content in relevant location. While it doesn’t perform same function like

12 habits of a successful blogger

via bLuefRogX by bLuefRoGX on 11/7/07

I’ve always wondered – “How did they make it to the top?” If someone could tell me the 10 ways to make me a popular blogger and make everyone link to me. I read and I read but

12 Link Building Tactics For 2008

via – Helping Bloggers Succeed by Ahmed Bilal on 11/10/07

As 2007 turns into 2008 (yes, its more than a month away but you can’t fault me for preparing right now, can you?), it’s worth taking a hard look at our blogging and promotion strategies and how those will evolve in the future.

5 ‘Less Used’ Ways To Get New Subscribers

via Blogging Tips by Ramkarthik on 11/10/07

It is always a blogger’s dream to get many subscribers. They set goals every month. Say, I want to reach 500 subscribers this month and I’m at 100 right now, then I, not only have to write extremely

Everything You Could Possibly Want to Know About Social Media

via Vandelay Website Design by Vandelay Design on 11/11/07

Thank you to everyone who submitted post(s) to this group writing project! There are over 50 articles here that I’m sure anyone can learn from. Some focus on a particular social networking site while others

That is about it for this weeks top 15 (or 20 this week). There are some very interesting articles on the list if you haven’t had a chance to read them yet.

What was on your link list this week that really stood out? As always I would love to hear your comments below.