On blogging

How do you fellow blog readers keep blogs from taking up all your time? I’m not talking about blog writing — I’m content to spend the time I do on the writing; I’m talking about reading other people’s blogs. I ask because it seems like I can add new blogs to my reading list endlessly. I’m thrilled when someone new leaves a comment on one of my posts — thrilled! — but often that means a new blog to check out and it might very well be one I want to keep reading. That’s great, but I can’t keep adding new ones or I’ll never have any time for anything else. There are most definitely more excellent, intelligent, well-written book blogs out there than I can possibly read. How do you decide what to read and what to skip?

I use bloglines, which means I can read people’s posts all in one place, making the reading easier since I don’t actually have to go to each website to see if there’s a new post. It’s a lot more time consuming to visit the actual sites to check for new material — I like to visit people’s actual sites to read the posts in the context the author created, but with a feedreader like bloglines, I can visit only when I know there’s a new post. My point is that bloglines helps cut down on time spent online — but still, I’m subscribed to 78 blogs at the moment, and that’s a lot to read, even if many of the blogs aren’t updated all that regularly. My current pattern is to subscribe to the feeds of new, interesting blogs (new to me, at least) on bloglines and read them for a while to see if I like them or not. But I tend to like more blogs than I dislike, so my list grows.

I suppose I can also skim posts more often and read only those that I find most interesting. I do this with some blogs already (not those written by anybody who reads here regularly!), but I prefer to find bloggers I really like and then read most if not all of their posts. Blogs tend to make more sense and be more enjoyable if you read them regularly, and since I think good blogs succeed because of the writer’s voice, I want to experience that voice often. And, since blogging for me is largely about community and sharing thoughts and ideas, I prefer to follow those writers I like closely to keep up with their lives and what the conversations are about.

A related issue is that of blogrolls, so I can ask that question as well: how do you decide what links to put on your blogroll? This is on my mind because of Danielle’s recent post and the accompanying comments on the subject. Do you think a blogroll should be short or long? Mine doesn’t strike me as terribly long, but that’s largely because I don’t update it very often — if I put all the blogs I read on the blogroll, it would be longer. The argument for a shorter blogroll might be that the links would then be more meaningful — they are the best of the best, perhaps. But a longer blogroll is more inclusive and more welcoming, which seems like a very good thing. There’s no need to make blogging clique-ish.

By the way, if you’re a regular reader, and you’re not on my blogroll, leave a comment or email me, and I’ll put you there.

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