You’re a handsome blog, what’s your owner’s name?

Sam Ruby reports being confused by meeting Dave Shea and Matt Mullenweg, when he wouldn’t have had a problem with meeting The CSS Zen Garden guy and photomatt. I actually wouldn’t have had any problem with either of those names, but although I know I’m subscribed to Dave’s weblog, I wouldn’t have been able to easily find it in my subscriptions until just a few minutes ago, when I changed the name in Bloglines from mezzoblue to Dave Shea.

It’s a drastic step, throwing away the name of someone’s blog that way, but it’s the only thing I get to change in Bloglines. What works best for me are feeds done like Joshua Kaufman’s unraveled, where the feed has the title “unraveled” and the description “Joshua Kaufman’s Personal Website”, so that every time I glance at the header above a post I get reminded whose feed it is.

On the other hand, despite having read and enjoyed Pushing Rectangles (“Speed has always been important otherwise one would not need a computer.”) for going on two years now, it wasn’t until I left my aggregator and went to the webpage the other day while bookmark blogging that I realized/remembered that it was Matthew Ernest’s blog, and thus remembered the whole who/when/why behind my having read him all this time.

Even though I know I’m not getting to know a whole person, just the parts that you choose to publish about you, I still think of you as people, not as publications, and it’s your personal voice that attracts me to your blog. And the way I know people is by their names (even if their name is StavrosTheWonderChicken – I don’t care what’s on your birth certificate, just that it be a name-for-you, not a name-for-a-thing-of-yours). So, would you mind reminding me of your name in your feed?


Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2004-03-13 22:08:35

Going on two years

A number known to the rest of the world as a year and a half. It’s just that the time from March to September always seems to go so fast, and September to March goes so slow, that I think they shouldn’t be half a year apart in each direction.

Comment by Dave S. #
2004-03-14 07:48:37

Good point Phil. Updated.

Comment by Jim #
2004-03-14 08:56:30

How about team weblogs? Would you call them for example SmithBrownBrownBrownandBrownsWeblog? Team weblogs are far better with names after themes, places or artificial names …

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2004-03-14 09:31:41

Well (and of course I’m speaking only of my own experience) team weblogs seem to either be ”John and Joe” or ”A Thing (That I Don’t Often Read)”. Now I expect an avalanche of links to team weblogs done by more than two people where each voice clearly shines through, but my guess is that most of them are things, and the rest are ”John (and some other people sometimes).”

Comment by Aristotle Pagaltzis #
2005-07-03 22:17:04

Heh. I’ve long taken to the practice of renaming personal weblogs (be they topical or diaries) to their owner’s name. Particularly because in many cases the feed itself doesn’t contain the owner’s name anywhere at all – even the author metadata is often just the login name used by the author for their weblogging system: “jaz” or “jd” or “bh” aren’t much help.

Trackback by PapaScott #
2004-03-13 23:53:30

You’re a handsome blog, what’s your owner’s name?

You’re a handsome blog, what’s your owner’s name?…

Trackback by Rodent Regatta #
2004-03-14 06:40:06

People or Places?

Every once in a while it’s great to see experienced web folks who speak up about things you’ve been pondering….

Trackback by house of warwick #
2004-03-14 09:12:07

Name in the Title

At the request of Phil Ringnalda, I added my name to my blog description.

Trackback by Radio Free Blogistan #
2004-03-17 17:05:52

A blog by any other name…

Phil Ringnalda is thinking about author identity versus blog names. I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit as well. Over the last couple of months I’ve made it a point to discover the names of the authors behind many of the blogs I read on a regular…

Trackback by Thinking Home Business #
2005-07-03 19:21:00

Choosing Your Blog Name

When a coaching colleague asked me for some advice on naming their blog, I said, sure, I’ll send you some comments. That was a week ago and I have a phone conference with that colleague in just over an hour from now, so I need to come up with some usef…

Comment by HarryJ #
2009-03-24 10:47:30

Hi Phil

I am new to blogging. I will be registering a domain this week and using WordPress. I must admit I’m super confused by your article.

Are you suggesting that I register my name as the domain and use it as the blog title, in order to promote myself as a brand rather than the blog? Then use the blog name I was going to register as a doamin as Blog description or tagline? Eg. Domain –, blog name – John Smith(’s), tagline – Cool world. Similar to Phil Ringnalda – a digital magpie?

Or are you talking about setting up my admin user profile as John Smith so the RSS feed reads John Smith? or am I wrong on both counts?

Your input would be much appreciated.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2009-03-24 11:08:05

Sort of depends on what you’re doing: remember, this was written five years ago, when blogging was rather different.

If what you want to do is the same thing that most people were doing then, writing a personal blog about one or more or all of the things that interested them, then absolutely you should include your name in the blog title somewhere, and make sure the feed identifies you, and whether to register yourname or blogtitle depends mostly on how much of you you intend to put in that blog: you might want to separate ”John Smith’s Fishing Stories” and ”John Smith On Web Design” on separate domains, while you might want to have ”John Smith On Web Design” and ”John Smith’s PHP Tips” on the same domain.

If, however, you’re doing something more like the last few years where people expect to turn a blog into a business and hire writers or sell it off, you’ll want to complete ignore my ancient advice: icanhascheezburger wouldn’t be improved by being ”John Smith’s Lolcats ’n’ Funny Pictures of Cats” and would be much less marketable at

Comment by HarryJ #
2009-03-24 23:10:05

Thanks PHil

Have you stopped blogging? I see your last post was February 23rd, 2007.

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