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The second edition of my Friday link love, this week made for some truly enjoyable reading as it was packed full of practical advice. one of my favourites was the guide to google analytics very informative.

9 Ways to use Google Calender to be your money – Trent over at the simple dolllar discusses how he uses Google calender to organize his finances. I’m a very recent convert to Google calender and have so far only been using it to organize my writing and design projects. Trent adds some very useful tips to keep your money goals on track.

The 20 something Coupon clipper – I Will Teach You To Be Rich’s Money Diaries look at a typical 20 something so busy doing the wrong things she has no time to realize it.

Building Credibility – Darren Rowse at Problogger discusses building up Credibility on your blog but the results can be applied to most any situation where you’re selling yourself as a product. Perhaps something interesting to think about before your next job interview. Also see 9 First Step Goals for New Bloggers this post got me so excited I made my first Comment on Problogger :-)

Create your own handwriting font – Productivity 501 looks at the advantages of digitizing your handwriting. This is one of those decisions that you’ll need to mull over a bit, however if you under the right circumstances it could save you tons of time.

A guide to Google Analytics: A must read for anyone wanting to start a blog or website. I’ve already saved this to my reference folder and it’s perfect for the beginner as well as those of us who thought we knew it all.

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1220138_33620914 Twenty posts in and it still astounds me how hard it is for me to put my name to my writing and send it into the world. I’ve spent a lot of the last few months on my craft, working out what words best describe that voice that lurks at the back of my mind the voice that is the source of my questions and the spark for my writing. I’d like to think my writing is not just that voice but a combination of that and something more. The compulsion is what intrigues me. The compulsion to find a soap box and let go of the ideas knocking about in this not so old head. Time for me is like a sitcom that can only be enjoyed in context. Friends is one of my favourite shows of all time but 10 years earlier it would have made no sense and 10 years later it’s already losing relevance. Looking at my writing I have similar feeling each day that passes between an idea and the release of that idea on paper or a screen it becomes less relevant, less real. Until the idea like grapes left to long on the vine spoil and ferment leaving nothing but regret at a seasons work wasted for a few days laziness. Time is now, everything else is dreaming or remembering. There is no time in the future and all the time in the past has been used up. Go forth and kick ass, 20 posts in and I’m starting to feel it.

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As it happens I have an alter ego who writes at mydl, which is the geekronym for My digital life a South African digital lifestyle blogging site which I contribute to. The last week has been extremely emotionally charged with many of those problems that we South Africans tend to avoid bubbling to the surface.  For those not living within our lovely border , shame on you!! Ok now that I’ve got that out of my system essentially what’s happened is Canada has granted political asylum to Brandon Huntley, a South African national living in Canada illegally. See more in my post Canadians must not be very clever just ask Brandon Huntley

The Issues in a Nutshell

  • Brandon Huntley is a white South African
  • Brandon Huntley claims to have been the victim of violent crime at the hands of black criminals on seven occasions, but never reported any of these crimes to the South African police
  • The Canadian panel hears Brandon Huntley’s representations and finds:
  • Brandon Huntley is being persecuted in his home country because of his race
  • The government in South Africa is unable and unwilling to protect white South Africans like Brandon Huntley
  • Brandon Huntley would not be safe returning to South Africa because “ no matter where he went in South Africa he would stick out like a sore thumb”

For more on this see the link above to my post on mydl. What I’m here to discuss is the manner in which this story brought to the surface a number of issues which we as a country have just been to damn polite to discuss.

Racism is still rife in South Africa

I think the most important lesson I’ve learnt this week is that racism is still alive and kicking in South Africa. The large number of hateful and absurdly ignorant comments that flew back and forth this week really knocked the stuffing out of me until I realized, Brandon Huntley might just be the savior of our democracy. Brandon Huntley and he’s sneaky underhanded attempt to remain in Canada has started a dialog that should have begun 15 years ago. We need to release the pressure bubbling below the lid of political correctness and give space for expression of ideas we dislike and disapprove of. Brandon Huntley and his cheap trick which is now under judicial review in Canada has given a voice to racism and I’m actually happy to hear it.

Lessons on Managing comment flaming

For me everyday on mydl is a learning experience and never more so than this week past. Some of the best lessons which I think apply to any kind comment flaming on blogs or in normal social :

  • Shut up, the more distasteful the comment the more closely you should listen, when you start listening you open the door for understanding always remember discussions via comments are public affairs
  • Ask questions, make sure you understand the other persons point of view once they’ve stated it
  • Be respectful, anyone can shout and scream and use profanity, when you do it you take away from your credibility and alienate your audience
  • I mention this seperately because well it happens a lot don’t call people names :) Once you’ve called someone idiotic it’s unlikely they’re going to listen you again no matter how compelling your argument.
  • Pause, try not to reply while your emotions are running high take some time and reply when you’re calm
  • Do reply thoroughly citing references where possible
  • Do acknowledge when people with differing opinons to you make compelling arguments
  • Don’t be afraid to quit while you’re ahead or even if you’re behind, some arguments simply become childish mud slinging matches. Don’t let your ego rule you, remember why the discussion started and if the discussion has become trivial walk away, continuing will only take away from your brand.
  • Over and above all that forget about winnng! It’s not a game state your case and move on.

Some very tasty comment discussions and lots of lessons on how not to handle comments:

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So you visited my site or another blog and would like to pop in more often and keep track of the content on the site. So you add the site as a bookmark and Bob’s your father’s brother. Except what if you wanted to be notified when new content is added or existing content is updated. Well you can by subscribing to the RSS feed but what the heck is an RSS feed?

What is RSS

RSS feeds are the answer to the modern internet. The internet is all grown up and with the growth of broadband across the planet we have as a planet access to more information faster than at any time in history. We are no longer limited by our technology but by time we have available. RSS feeds are a result of the change in the face of technology allowing content on the internet to change constantly. The internet as you know it will not be the same in 5 minutes time and has probably changed fairly drastically in the last 60 seconds. RSS feeds were designed with this in mind, the dynamic web a web in constant flux. A static bookmark is no longer sufficient for a website who may add and update content many times an hour. We need content as and when it changes RSS delivers your internet right to your browser in real time.

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RSS means Really Simple Syndication

The syndication bit simply means the delivery of media and the really simple is what RSS is.

Now you:

  • No Longer need to check for updates when a site is updated your RSS feed gets updated automatically
  • No longer need to navigate to each site you regularly read the content is right there when you open your RSS feed reader
  • Can receive breaking news as and when it happens
  • Drastically reduce the time you need to spend on the internet
  • Drastically increase the amount of media you can consume

I have included an additional video as well as text guides on how to use RSS feeds all of which are quite comprehensive, in the resources at the end of the post should anything still be unclear.

How to use RSS

  1. Get an RSS reader there are a plethora of RSS readers on the market for sale and for free I suggest starting with a free reader like Google Reader image
  2. Once you’ve found a RSS feed you’d like to subscribe to click on the RSS icon.image
  3. If there is a drop down select your reader if not you should see a screen similar to the one below where you’ll be able to choose your preferred RSS reader.image
  4. Go back to Google reader and you should see the latest posts from the RSS feed you’ve subscribed to in Google Reader

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That is as they say is that. Rinse and repeat for every site RSS you’d like to add and a come back daily and keep track of your important sites as and when they change.

How to Use RSS Feeds More Resources:

Everything you need to know about RSS feeds and feed readers is included in the this guide on how to use RSS.


Internet: Useful Tips:
RSS In Plain English

Subscribe to my blog via RSS now  Subscribe to Monetize

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I’m not in the business of writing about writing content but I came across a very interesting article written by one of my many many blog readers this evening, If you want more traffic for your blog, you have to give more traffic. This was really enjoyable post which reminded me again, as I slog away behind my laptop that I’m not in this on my own, every time I hit a key I’m paying my dues in one of the toughest and fastest growing communities on earth. Neat hey?

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So what are you on about?

My blogging started with me skulking around blogs I enjoyed, like The Simple Dollar, Problogger, Zen habits and Lifehacker. Looking back at these blogs now I realize how much the “voice” of each blogger when writing content contributed to the type of community that turned up day after day to interact with the content. Over and above this these guys were and are authorities in their niche. It helps I suppose that these are all professional bloggers, able to spend their time “researching.” With an advantage like this how screwed are the rest of us writing content? What chance do we have against full time web trawlers in their niche? Surprisingly we have an excellent chance they’re just giving all their knowledge away. They’re happy to add to the value of your blog.

Don’t leave anything on the table

A-list bloggers have figured out the trick to this blogging game there’s one rule. Yes only one, no neat bulleted list or catchy system for success just one rule. Add value. Add value to your reader. Add value to your community. A-list bloggers leave nothing on the table. They’ll tell you everything they know if you’ll listen.

Spend time finding questions

This might seem dumb, what value are questions? Now imagine writing a post where more than 50% of your readers sign up to your RSS feed or E-mail updates. Sound impossible?  Not really, if you know what questions your readers are asking to end up on your site then you’re well on your way. Answers are easy to find.   No matter how knowledgeable you may be, until your content asks and answers specific and relevant questions you’re going to struggle to become an authority as your readers trawl through your unrelated content (or more likely give up and look elsewhere)

Get by with a little help from your friends

Now to neatly come back full circle to that post that started it all. Blogging is about synergy not SEO or advertising. Blogging is a dialogue. Build a following, send them to sources of information that will be useful to them, add value and they’ll be your friends forever. Build a relationship with bloggers in your niche and you’ll save yourself a heap of pain trying to reinvent the wheel.

  • You’ll have someone to have a laugh with when the frustration of this blog game becomes a bit too much.
  • A sounding board when your ideas wander out into unchartered territory.
  • A marketing department(following included) when you add value.
  • Some friendly competition to push you out of your comfort zone
  • Some role models in the form of sites that have been there and done that
  • An inexhaustible supply of reader questions

The key to all of this though is sincerity. Just like in real life, people can only be manipulated so much. If you want true synergy you need to give without motive. Give because you can. You’ll get screwed over now and then. Even if you make one great blogging acquaintance out of every 100 interactions you make, you’re probably doing something right.

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