Friday, June 08, 2007

3 ways to keep your blog reading under control

Just as an aside, I can't believe I have a category called Blogging. I'm blogging about blogging - who would have thought?!

Blogging is so much fun and the reading is even more fun. But if you don't have a system, it can get overwhelming very quickly. Especially if you've made lots of friends and you're in a blog community.

Laura asked a question about how to eliminate blogs from your bloglines account (for me, that's Google Reader because I am a RAVING fan ;) ) and instead of hogging the comments like I sometimes do (sorry, guys!), I decided to write a post.

I told you before about my blogging system but here is the link - just read the first 3 points, especially number 3.

Now specifically on reducing the number of blogs, I:

1. Start with a goal in mind
When I decide to add blogs, I ask myself if they are aligned to my values, principles, etc. Stay with me! I like blogs that are uplifting but real, not too fluffy, organising (of course!), photography blogs, some humour (but not crude) and some parenting.

Part of this goal-setting process should be a number that you will not exceed, whether it's 50 or 100 blogs. Because when you have a goal, you have something to aim at.

2. Categorise in your Bloglines or Google Reader account
My current categories are Blog Love, Urgent but not important, Friends and Still Deciding.

Blog love - must read these every day

Urgent but not important - mainly business stuff like Hellomynameisscott, Guy Kawasaki's blog and my own ezinearticles feed so I can see when they publish articles I've submitted online. I also subscribe to some coaching blogs so I can see what other coaches are up to. You need to know what's out there and what your niche is talking about!

Friends - obvious. Although, I have only met 1 blog person in my life. And I am the only one of my real life friends who blog. But I like to think I have lots of bloggy friends now

Still deciding - obvious too. If I click through a link and like what's there, I quickly add to Google Reader and monitor it for a while. Some of these eventually move through to blog love or friends. Others I unsubscribe from.

I find that when I put feeds in this folder it doesn't feel like I'm committing to them and swearing undying loyalty. So it's easier to unsubscribe from the feed.

3. Maintain
If you decide that you want to have x number of feeds (for me, it is 40 at the moment but remember I am ruthless - I have to be otherwise I'll go crazy), then stick to it and schedule some time every week to go through.

Link it to something you do regularly (like menu planning) so that it becomes a habit.

When you declutter the feeds, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I look forward to reading this blog every day?
  • Is this a blog I tend to just "mark as read" without reading?
  • Is this aligned to my values? I'm Christian and while I read lots of non-Christian blogs (in fact, mine is not really a Christian blog but I hope you'd never find anything offensive on there - let me know), if something obviously goes against my morals and ethics I don't read anymore. I'm only reading 2 of the 30 blogs I started reading 18 months ago - all the rest I found too crude, mean, etc.
  • Do I enjoy relating to this person? I think this is where many of us get a bit lost. There's nothing overtly wrong about the blog or the person so we feel uncomfortable with not reading anymore. I don't have many close friends in real life although I'm friendly with everybody and I think it's more or less the same in the blog world.

I have a happy medium for me. I will unsubscribe but if I see a comment or a link from that person on another blog I read, I click through now and again and see what they're up to. So I'm sort-of in the loop (oh, so-and-so had her baby, or whatever) but not involved on a daily basis.

And with that, I'm off to declutter my Google Reader ;)

What other great tips do you have to keep your feed reader under control?

Other interesting posts on blogging
Limiting blogging time or just click the blogging label at the bottom of this post


CoachJ said...

I took your advice the first time around, and I love it!

Org Junkie said...

Awesome Marcia! I've decided what I'm going to do and will post about it soon. Great post!

Ariane Benefit said...

Thanks for sharing Marcia! Sounds like the strategy many of use for contacts! Does this contact go in our cell phone? on a speed dial? in the address book? or does it hand in the enter in contacts folder a while before getting moved up? I never thought of organizing my blogs that way...GREAT tip!!! : )

Rohit Rohila said...

Hi Marcia, Great advice. A while back ago, I noticed that by 10AM (Pacific) when I checked my Google Reader, I always had well over 100+ items. What I started to do was just star items of interest and keep going. I get through the entire 100 in about 5 minutes. Then on Sundays, I set aside about 2 hours to go through all of my star items for stuff I am really interested in. I like your tips here, I will start to apply them. Thanks.