Thoughtful Thursday: Reader

March 25, 2010

Thoughtful ThursdayOne more Thoughtful Thursday on the theme of how many is too many. We’ve talked about number of children and we’ve talked about domains of life. What about blogs?

How many blogs can you handle reading? Is the limit based on number of blogs, number of posts each day, or number of virtual relationships you can maintain?

There are 119 blogs in my Google Reader right now. That number is deceptive, because there are some that never post anymore but I keep them around because they’re on my Clicker list, and others that post infrequently. In a given day there are usually two to four dozen new posts. Frankly, I read some posts more carefully than others. I used to comment on everybody that I read, but since Burrito and Tamale were born, there are some Clicker blogs whose news I post to Lost and Found but on whom I never comment.

My limit — the point at which I get the urge to unsubscribe to a few — is based on number of posts per day. I don’t have a problem keeping track of the different people, though a few people on my Clicker list blend together. With the blogs I read by choice — about half of the total list — every one is there for a reason, and every one is distinct in my mind.

How many blogs can you handle reading? Is the limit based on number of blogs, number of posts each day, or number of virtual relationships you can maintain?

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19 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Reader”

  1. strongblonde Says:

    omg. what a tough question. some days i feel like i can handle more than others. i don’t even know how many are in my reader. i do know that once i see that there are 100 new posts, i mark all as read and then click over to the ones that i seem to have more of a personal relationship with….or those people who i have been reading since before i actually started my own blog. i am in the same boat, however, that i can’t comment on everyone. it’s too much. especially when there are like 30 new posts from one person since the last time i checked the reader. it’s overwhelming.

    …but then again i think that i am blogamentally delayed or something b/c i didn’t even start a reader until i switched blog engines. i don’t know what i was waiting for!! 🙂

  2. niobe Says:

    There are many days that I wonder if I can even handle my own blog. Sigh.

  3. a Says:

    I don’t know how many blogs I have in my reader (I’m sure there’s a very easy way to find out, but it currently eludes me), but I read about 40 – 50 posts a day. Some are pretty brief (like People of Walmart or Postcards from Yo Momma), and some are extremely elaborate (Science Based Medicine, LFCA). Aha! I have 106 subscriptions.

    There are some I comment on every time, and some I just read. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed, but I haven’t really found that I need to Mark All As Read… (or declare Reader Bankruptcy). I suspect that for most people, it’s like reading a newspaper. You can skim the headlines, check out the interesting ads and comics, do the crossword, and then read several in-depth stories. On days when news is thin, you feel a little unfulfilled. On days when there are crises around every corner, you feel overwhelmed.

  4. loribeth Says:

    I currently have something like 400 blogs in my Google Reader (eek). Not all of those are infertility & loss blogs — I have a sizeable folder of scrapbooking & political blogs, & some odds & ends — and, as you said, there’s a good chunk of those (probably 1/4) that are inactive. I managed to stay on top of my reading (if not commenting) for a long time. It got away from me at Christmastime (when I had less access to a computer), then during the Olympics (when I wasn’t spending as much time in the evening on the PC) & again lately, due to a surge of activity at both work & home.

    Some of the political blogs I follow can post dozens of times in a day. Once I accumulate more than 100 unread posts for one blog, I tend to just hit “read all.”

  5. Rebecca Says:

    There 150 blogs in my reader. I can handle them all but if I’m not enjoying them, I cut them.

  6. Mel Says:

    I don’t actually know how many blogs are in my Reader and I’m not going over to look because I may cringe. I don’t think it’s the number of blogs, but more what is happening in other areas of life. Right now, I’ve been in a holiday time suck for weeks between Purim and Pesach so it’s harder to keep up. Other times, it feels like I don’t have enough. Does that make sense?

  7. Elana Kahn Says:

    I lost track of how many blogs are in my reader. I usually just skim through the titles of posts and read the ones that look interesting or if I want to check up on someone. 🙂

  8. Kristin Says:

    Hmmm, I really don’t know. I tend to be a bit obsessive about reading and commenting but I never let it preclude getting things done in real life.

  9. ana Says:

    I really keep it minimal these days. Somewhere around 7-8 blogs that I read all the posts of at some point (I may catch up on the whole week on a Saturday, for example). I just can’t get emotionally involved in more than that, and at this time in life, I only want to spend my time on things I am connected to. There was a point where I was reading closer to 20 blogs regularly, but I’ve cut down, usually because I lose interest.

  10. Lavender Luz Says:

    This is such a great question (do I say that every week?)

    I have the need to empty my Reader each night. Crazy, I know. So I don’t add very often, since I feel pretty full now.

    I don’t know how many are in my Reader, but I just feel full. I also want to take good care of the relationships I have now, so I am not actively seeking new ones.

    This is very different from when I started blogging. Back then I pecked rapidly on the Add button.

    So I’m limited by energy and attention. And I wish I weren’t!

  11. Michele Says:

    I have 227 blogs in my Google Reader. I give myself a time limit each day (2 hours, broken up into pieces) to do my email, blog writing, and blog reading. Sometimes it takes me a while… But I eventually get caught up.

  12. Miss Blur Says:

    I have 64 subscriptions in my google reader. I follow a lot of pregnancy blogs (im oddly very interested in pregnancy) and then after they have the baby I read for a few weeks and then if they turn into just a mommy blog ie: JUST updating what the kids are doing then I usually unfollow. I have blog catergories “life” “marriage” “pregnant” “pregnant twins” “Parenting” “Parenting twins” (where you are!:)) and then one for micellanous things like postsecret Oh I also have a “wedding” catergory since Im in the mist of planning my wedding but I cant wait till I can unfollow those! Im so over wedding planning! haha The catergories really help when it comes to trying to keep blogs/people straight.


  13. Well… the blogs have been dealt the same fate as my New Yorkers I’m afraid. Most of the time I’m too busy with other stuff to just sit down and take time to read (let alone comment on) the blogs I used to follow (and I never even followed that many). It’s also partly due to the fact that I’m not so interested in reading about IF treatments and pregnancy anymore (maybe I will be again when I’ll go for another one…). Then there are a few blogs that I keep following because the writers had babies around the same time as me – but when I went through a difficult phase I sometimes avoided them because I didn’t want to read about the bliss of babies sleeping through the night while mine was waking up every two hours…
    So currently I can only handle about a handful of blogs, which is pretty pathetic (but I actually feel worse about not keeping up with my New Yorkers).


  14. I read a lot of blogs through my Google Reader — probably about 100 or so. But I only have two newsy blogs: jezebel and gawker and on any given day, only about 20 to 30 blogs actually post. I never hesitate to add another one if I like it, so I’d say I have no limit.

    However, I do have a pruning problem. There are blogs in my reader that haven’t posted in over a year. Should I get rid of them? But how about if they post again one day? So then I just don’t do anything and the pruning problem remains. How do you decide when you’re going to get rid of a blog?

  15. jill Says:

    Because of this post, I was inspired to go through and organize my entire list. I originally had 196 blogs but I went through and weeded some out that never post anymore and that I was never invested in. Then I added some new ones from the last ICLW and from LFCA. Now I have 197 in my reader and I can break that out into stats!

    No longer post – 38
    Blogs I’m very unlikely to comment on – 75
    Blogs I comment on (regularly and rarely) – 44
    Special blogs (I comment regularly and the blog writer comments on my blog as well; the type of relationship where I would miss them if they stopped posting and I would email to find out how they are, etc.) – 28
    Blogs I’ve recently added to my reader – 12

    I would say I comment regularly on about 70 blogs and read almost every new post for all the blogs in my list. I do think I’m at my limit of blogs at the moment though, as it takes up a lot of my time. If I stop reading for a day or two, the backlog is crazy. I pick and choose what posts to read when I’m behind but I almost never declare “reader bankruptsy” on any blogs.

  16. Photogrl Says:

    Well, considering I’m just NOW answering this question 5 days late….I apparently have way too many blogs in my google reader! 😉

    My guess is about 150 blogs…I really don’t know.

    I need to go through them and organize them, as I know that there are at least 10 to 15 that haven’t posted in at least 9 months or more.

    Even though I have so many, there are about 25 that I comment on regularly and read first, no matter how many unread items google tells me I have!

  17. Cindy Says:

    I have too many…and I can’t keep up with commenting. And then on those where I want to comment I press ‘keep unread’ about 5,000 times until I finally sit down and comment—how many days later is this???

    I unsubscribe at times, if it is a blog I have never really commented on but just kind of gave it a chance, or if I find I just can’t ‘relate’….or if I’m bored.

    And I feel guilty for being as much of a lurker as I am of late.

    *sigh*

    And I don’t know the number I subscribe to….several hundred??

  18. staciet Says:

    My list is long, but I don’t comment on every single post. I also still add blogs that I find, especially when I run across preemie blogs, etc. I think I have about 130 that I follow and about 15 that I periodically check on.

  19. ^WiseGuy^ Says:

    I do not subscribe to blogs on Google Reader. But I have a list of blogs ‘BlogLove’ on my blog that I follow through. There are about 54 blogs on that list.

    Most of them are active, one of them has been deleted, one of the blogger is dead, but her blog is still there, and some are infrequently updated.

    On a roll, I tend to read through 10-12 blogs (the ones that are updated the latest). I may not comment on every post I read.

    For some of them, I may put in a byte for LFCA, and on some blogs, if I have missed previous posts that I deem as essential reads, I can go through all of them at one go and comment on each of the posts.

    I do not tend to add blogs easily to BlogLove. I have to feel like wanting to ‘stay in touch’ with that blogger. Also, it is easier for me to retain and process the posts of a blogger, if I am aware of what things she is currently worked up on.

    There is a rainbow set of blogs I read, and it is important for me to feel that I can connect to the other blogger.


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