Posted on 14 Comments

Blog-reading habits


Hello, my name is Lisa, and I am subscribed to too many blog feeds.  There, I said it.  I’m a Google Reader fan, and I’m embarassed to tell you how many feeds I have taking up residence there.  Years ago, I adopted a hierarchical structure using labels:

  • The read-me-first category, which contains my five favorite feeds of the moment
  • A series of read-me categories, with my very favorite feeds of certain types: crafty, food, podcasts, etc.  These are second on my list to read.
  • Everything else, also split into relevant categories.  These are the feeds I read when there are no more unread read-me categories.

This has been an excellent system, but it’s been failing me lately, and I can think of two reasons why:

  1. I’ve got too many feeds with read-me status.  There’s not enough time in the day to read them all.  I am routinely a week behind.
  2. A few of the more technical feeds I’ve been reading lately are leading me into time-wasting territory.

That first problem, I can solve with less than 30 minutes of prioritization and honest evaluation.

The second is more tricky.  Yesterday I read something (I don’t even remember what!) on some productivity site, followed a link, which led to another, and another and another, until I found myself switching around some plugins to improve my blog’s load time, and making my blog pretty for mobile phone users (go ahead – try it!).  I won’t tell you how many hours I spent playing with that stuff, but I will tell you that it cut significantly into time I had set aside for something else, and I will probably regret it deeply when I’m scrambling to get this other thing finished.

I love waking up in the morning, bringing up Google Reader on my Palm, and reading a few blogs before officially starting my day, but man! am I ever going to have to cull the feed herd!  Some things I’ve been reading lately are dangerous for the easily distracted…

How about you? Do you have a blog-reading system that works for you, or are you starting to feel the effects of feed clutter?


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Posted on 14 Comments

14 thoughts on “Blog-reading habits

  1. I treat my Bloglines feed page like a magazine rack at the library. I know where my favorites are, but they’re not all in one place–because otherwise I might miss the browsing past stuff that just catches my fancy. Sometimes I start from the top; sometimes I start from the bottom; either way, I stop when I have other things to do.

    And I don’t worry about backlog–just like I can’t read every single article in every magazine that catches my eye, I’m never, ever going to read every single blogpost by everyone that interests me. So I have (lemme check) 13071 unread messages in my Bloglines feeds right now. And that’s never going to go away. And that’s okay–it’s not clutter, it doesn’t get in my way, it’s there if I ever get really bored. But I don’t need to attack it like a pile of laundry. Old unread posts don’t stink or get moldy… 😉
    .-= See Penny’s latest blog post: The Garden and the Snail =-.

    1. I’m with you to some extent. I feel that way about my “Everything Else” categories. It really doesn’t bother me to have 2000+ unread posts sitting around in there (and I do!).

      But my favorites? I have this compulsive need to get to the bottom of them, even if it just means skimming the headlines, cherry-picking the most interesting reads of the moment, and marking the rest as read. I do that a lot these days.

  2. I love reader too! I’ve got way too many things too….I have a must read folder and then all else is filed by what it is, like sewing or craft or misc. or whatever. But I’ve been having a problem with it lately. The reader itself that is. I unsubscribe to a blog and it still shows up telling me I am not yet subscribed to it and do I want to. I don’t follow it, I’ve deleted it, signed out, I’ve subscribed and deleted again and it. is. still. there. ugh.

  3. I have my Google Reader feeds split up into categories, too: a small group of Essentials that I always make time to read, and the rest are organized by subject.

    I stopped trying to keep up on everything a while back – it’s just not possible. I tend to scan posts more than read them, stopping when a headline or photo intrigues me.

    And, I make a practice of culling my feeds about once a month. I’m always adding new ones, so periodically, I unsubscribe from feeds that haven’t been bringing much value.

    …But if I could take a pill that would give me unlimited time and attention span… oh, you betcha. 🙂
    .-= See Sister Diane’s latest blog post: A Kanzashi Book + Kit Dealio =-.

  4. I used to read about 100 blogs per day when i was using Snarfer, but since it made so many problems in my computer, i moved to google reader and it’s less fun 🙁 i find the interface a bit annoying…

    anyway, about the subject, lucky for me i am interested in fewer subject than u (no food blogs for me, thank u) so i guess i will find an hour or 2 every 1-2 days, to see what’s new, facebook is also helping with some of the posts when i see someone posted in their blog, i go and check…

    the internet is such an addiction, i need a cure 🙂

  5. I look forward to catching up on my blog reading during my spare time (what little I have – lol) I look at the internet as my magazine reading as well and there are some favorites I always look forward to. Sometimes I go several days before I have any time but I enjoy it when I do. I prefer google reader since I can pick and choose my favorites that are highlighted with new postings first and then go back to others if I have more time. I also get rid of some if they haven’t had any activity in them for months (my pet peeve) or they don’t interest me anymore but I seem to be always adding new ones.
    .-= See Carolyn Good’s latest blog post: Some new Tartan Plaid =-.

  6. I only read daily those blogs on my favorites quick list. I only deviate to my other favorites on the weekend. I’m with Penny, there is just nooooooooooo way I’m ever going to read everything that interests me much less those I’m just mildly intrigued by.

    The internet: that bad boy infatuation left over from my twenties…so tantalizing, so much potential, so much possibility of wasted time, ugh. LOL.

  7. I don’t remember what life was like before google reader…I think I used some weird bookmark system that never really worked. Now, thanks to google reader, it has gotten a little overwhelming. I don’t like having unread post but at the same time I don’t mind clicking the “mark all as read” button to certain categories.

    I HEART me some google reader!

  8. If I admidt to being a Google Reader addict, do I really have a problem? : )

    I love love love Google Reader. I follow about 300 blogs and am constantly adding more based upon Google Reader’s suggestion.

    It doesn’t stop.
    .-= See Jen’s latest blog post: Almost Thanksgiving & A Giveaway! =-.

  9. If I find myself skimming the posts I delete the feed. But this doesn’t happen to often. BUT I tend to have a few minutes here and there at work to check out my blogs feeds. I do have to many but they are great to pass the time when its slow and they are so inspirational!
    .-= See Stephanie B’s latest blog post: FO: Birthday Napkins =-.

  10. This is so bad, I have two seperate google readers…one for work with one email address and one for personal/crafy stuff with the other…so theoretically in the AM i read the work blogs and in the PM and weekends I read the other blogs…keeps me from doing fun stuff when I should be working…

    Oh, I mean, keeps me from mixing business with pleasure…
    because I LOVE my job 😉

    I have basic categories on my personal one that never really work: women blogs, creative living, ministry, blog and web (for techy stuff) etc…but sometimes my creative living blogs look more like women blogs and vice versa.

    I do go through ever so often and just delete blogs that haven’t been holding my attention, I can always pick them up again…or if a blog gets overly political or hate filled.

    I can not bear to have unread blog posts…

  11. I read twice in the day – first in the morning, I skim through the first run which is usually my favourites and my news. At lunch or afternoon break I run through the newest faves and the rest.

    Most days I get through about half of what comes in. I subscribe to not only blog feeds but the data feeds from about 100 Etsy / etc. shops, several weather, stock, banking, etc. tickers and all kinds of stuff. I don’t read most of it, I skim and then read what catches my eye.

    And I set aside time each week for playing with the same productivity sites lol because they get me too. I star them and come back and use my weeks ‘design’ chunk to do it. Otherwise I end up down the rabbit hole doing, God knows what for hours.

    For what it’s worth – I used to read a couple papers a day / week. I don’t anymore: I skim their feeds in my reader. I no longer even go NEAR the tv for my news.
    .-= See Elaine’s latest blog post: Not Just Beads =-.

  12. I think I’ve got 300+ in my Google Reader? I have my art/craft, photo, top reads, etc. categories and I figure I’ve curated my faves so I won’t delete. I no longer have qualms about declaring bankruptcy on days worth of unread stuff. More than once have I made GR stop counting at 1000+, but bankruptcy…at least in feed reader land solves all! 🙂
    .-= See Heather’s latest blog post: the just because things =-.

  13. I *just* switched over to fully using Google reader (I’d been a bloglines user). My big motivator… my iPhone… so I can read my feeds on the go (can you say addict?). I have mine broken up into categories, which is always a bit tricky for me because it’s hard to pigeon hole, but for now it works okay. I’m still getting used to it.
    .-= See dani poppins’s latest blog post: heart =-.

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