Thursday, September 10, 2009

ON BLOGGING ~ Reader Dumping...



Last month, I put together a post about juggling time for blogging along with the rest of my life. And Margot left a thoughtful confession about Google Reader feeding her addiction. She wondered if she had just attended her first Bloggers Anonymous meeting. Well, I would never want anyone to feel all alone without a sponsor to help them through their addiction, so here I present our first ever BlogAnon post - a new Friday feature. Grab some coffee and stale donuts and come on in.

Since Margot started things off with Google Reader, I'll chime in and fess up as well. I avoided Google Reader for months. I didn't see the need. That's probably because I didn't have a lot of blog friends. But I finally gave in to the blogger pressure and started adding feeds to my Reader of all our known Followers. Seemed like a nice, organized, simple way to keep track of everyone. No more poking through our blog roll for sites and posts. Now I could stay right on top of those who cared about us the most, as well as those who didn't give a rat's ass who we were but who we enjoyed visiting anyway.

Oh - it always starts off that way doesn't it? Peer pressure to check out a fun and easy rush that helps you through struggles. Silly me - who has one of the most addictive personalities on the planet. You think I'd recognize an evil substance when I see it. Especially when it has words like "feed" associated with it.

I've got 73 subscriptions in my Reader. And 157 unread posts - since freakin' two days ago!!! I had that sucker down to ZERO when I went to bed after the Monday holiday. I woke up to almost 100 posts on Tuesday. I knocked off a few during lunch at work. Then I went home and went to bed and the beast doubled overnight. I've been trying desperately to tame that sucker ever since. And therein lies the problem. For me at least. I can't stand to see anything left. Be it cigarettes, beers, poker chips or posts. I want to consume them all. Completely.

Knowing this about myself, I would be smart to just MARK ALL AS READ. That gets rid of the temptation and gives me a nice empty slate without gorging myself with hours of reading. But that would be like flushing those smokes, pouring that beer down the sink, cashing in those chips. Where's the fun in all of that common sense? And so I read them all. And stress about all the time it is taking me away from other things - like work for example. You know, that one part of my life that actually makes all of this other stuff possible?

I want to dump - I really do. But that seems so cruel. Why even bother following all those people if I'm not going to take the time to see what they have to offer? If I dump their posts I might be missing out on that special post that comes along every now and then to spark a great discussion, idea or friendship. Will I miss out on some terrific bargain or a book that might just change my life? I can't do it. I can't do the dump. And I can't stop following - I just can't go cold turkey. Maybe I'll try skimming - kind of like social smoking. I know that won't work and I'll be sucked right back in.

So Margot. I hear ya. I know what you go through. I confess. And I feel much better. Deep breath. Now - I turn the Comments section over to you. Does Google Reader feed your blogging addiction? Or can you freely dump posts willy nilly without getting the shakes? Or maybe your true blogging sins lie elsewhere? Do tell! Your confessions are safe here - and you can even post anonymously if you prefer.

26 comments:

Sandy Nawrot said...

Well darn. Had a nice thoughtful comment, then Blogger crapped out on me. Anyway, I'm in the same dysfunctional boat you are in. Not only do I have to read everything, I have a pathological need to comment on everything. This is taking the sickness one step further, no? I'm liking this topic as a series. Good therapy, I'm thinking!

Susan said...

For the most part, I just ignore Reader, 'cause I only check my faves on my blogroll. Really the only reasons I have it is to be able to quickly go through the LOL Cats posts (because it takes a lot more time on the site) and to get my Bill Moyers fix on PBS.

Since I joined the new photo challenge, it has taken my blog time to a new level, because there are like 40 participants, and of course, I feel the need to comment on each and every one! And that has made my commenting on my faves suffer, to my regret!

And now, to top that, my sis introduced me to StumbleUpon! Egads! What an addiction that has become in a couple of days! I need a 12-Step Program!

kaye said...

I don't know what reader is . . .

but I like following better than the blog roll. It's so much better and faster to look at the snippet on my dashboard. Then I can decide which ones I want to read. And I can close out without returning back to my web page. Things are much faster now.

I’m remembering 9/11 today here’s my link Have a nice Friday!

The Bumbles said...

Kaye - Google Reader is the same as your Reading List on your blog's dashboard that you describe. Except Google Reader is housed on a Google account and can be used by non-Blogger users - anyone whether they have a blog on any platform or not.

Susan - StumbleUpon is something that scared the bejeezus out of me. I played around with it for one evening and realized I needed to get as far away as possible - another time sucker - much like those LOL cats!

Sandy - commenting is another beast in and of itself. At least it is productive and works for you as well as boosting someone else's day - like mine ;0)

Square Peg Guy said...

I use a feedreader just to read my own blog. LOL I know that sounds goofy, but I'm just using it to test the feed.

I prefer to make the rounds manually and see the sites as they're designed. It's almost like the difference b/t buying the CD and just downloading a few songs.

The way you describe your refusal to dump posts, it's almost like you're a hoarder, a tendency I have to fight.

The Bumbles said...

SPG - Oh I have our blog in our reader - I think that is good advice - that way you know when it is working and when it isn't - as well as seeing how it looks to everyone else.

And I am not a hoarder - didn't mean to give off that impression. I just can't delete them without reading them through. I wish I could. I follow anyone that follows us to return the favor and build up relationships with those who have reached out to us. But I'm not trying to collect blogs to follow - the ones I select all my own are few and far between.

Little Ms Blogger said...

Oh...I feel your pain.... I have far too many blogs I follow, but follow more because I've read a comment on someone else's blog I think is clever (I came here via Otin) and like what I see.

I now have a system. I read the ones that are a must for me daily and have learned so skim reader like kaye. I also time myself and when the time is up, so am I for the day. I make a note of where I was, don't close out Reader and start from that place.

The Bumbles said...

L'il Ms. - I do have a folder set up for Daily Reading and try to get through everything else as I have time. Setting a time limit or a block of time is a nice idea! How much time do you allow for reading versus commenting/visiting versus blogging? That is a tricky thing for me to figure out.

Patty Reiser said...

I used to use Google Reader until I found NewsFox. It is a FireFox browser add-on. One thing I love about it, I was able to create custom folders and categories for the blogs I read. I read alot of blogs, including The Bumbles, nd i find that I can get through them quicker when they are categorized.

Wishing you a scent-sational day!
Patty

PS - I just published a blog post in honor of 9/11.

Little Ms Blogger said...

Depends upon the time I wake up, but figure on average 1 1/2/day and that includes comments.

Today, I'm breaking it up and commenting throughout the day. I haven't sat straight through the time.

Now, creating an entry is a different story -- that's not included in the time I allow for reading. Then again, I don't post everyday. I think I do 4 times/week. (I bet my followers enjoy that so they can catch up on other people :-) )

The Bumbles said...

Patty - That is also good advice, not just for sorting through for reading purposes but for reaching out to groups of people too. I do have categories set up in Google Reader - Genres, Location, Memes, etc. And you are right - that does help to sort through them - so I can catch up with the Book Bloggers one night and then hop over to the Photo Blogs another.

L'il Ms - I think I am going to start keeping track of my times - I have a feeling I am wasting a lot of it. I try to save all blogging related stuff for the evenings and weekends - but I find myself dipping my toe in at lunch and next thing you know I can't stay away. Bad Bumble!!!

Heather said...

I love Google Reader for keeping up with favorite blogs. So much easier and more convenient than wasting time clicking around to see who has updated and who hasn't. And, if a blog goes without updating for a number of months, I delete it from my list.

I also have them sorted out into folders. If the unread total gets to great, I will concentrate on one or two folders, then take a break, or leave the others for the next day, then start the next day with a folder I didn't get to the day before.

As for commenting, I try to comment at least once a week on blogs in my GR, but that is not always doable. Only so many hours in a day, afterall...

Margot at Joyfully Retired said...

This was a very helpfiul Blogger Anon meeting. I feel better about my addiction. At least I know I'm not alone.

Here's my confession for the week: I accidently hit "Mark All As Read" for my entire list of 84 blogs I follow. Rather than feel better, I felt horrible. It felt like I'd lost my wallet with all my cash and credit cards in it! Now that is just plain silly. The posts were all still there but it just didn't feel right.

I learned some things here in the comments. I'm going to work on getting my Reader organized better.

Whoops, I forgot to say, "Hi, my name is Margot and I have a problem."

The Bumbles said...

Heather - it sounds like you and I employ very similar methods - except you seem to better handle the looming unread post figures much better! I need to ignore the stressful total number and just get to them when I get to them.

Margot - glad you feel better - this may not solve any problems but it sure feels better knowing you aren't the only one dealing with it! I bet you did feel horrible marking all as read by accident - but than I bet after a few days when things go on just as happily as before it might even feel a bit liberating - except bloggers like me keep creating posts each day to fill it right back up - sorry about that!

otin said...

I don't even know what google reader is? Seriously!

cardiogirl said...

Another Reader junkie. I do so hate those unread posts. When each one gets too high (over seven) I just click mark all as read as I hold my breath and hope I didn't move past a really great post.

But I hate doing that.

And I do hate seeing something 79 unread posts. It's a slippery slope. However, as you mentioned, I do love knowing when my buddies post, especially those who are sporadic.

I also feel bad when I dump people and I don't do it often, but I do it. And then I wonder if the person knows I dumped them.

I do receive emails when someone dumps me. I think those are just the people who subscribed via email because it always says soandso@att.net has unsubscribed from Cardiogirl.

I die a little inside every time I see that but you can't please all of the people all of the time, right?

Beth F said...

I used to have my reader organized into folders, but I've found a straight alphabetical list to be easier.

I can't stand that "mark all as read" thing. Oh the guilt.

The Bumbles said...

CG - yes, those are people unsubscribing to your e-mail service. A little part of me dies too when that happens. Well put. One time it was my DAD who unsubscribed! I think he just got overwhelmed with daily e-mails from us and prefers to visit on his own schedule. I'm actually impressed that he figured out how to subscribe in the first place.

Beth F. - I usually go the alpha route myself - but I still like to sort everyone with useful tags for reference purposes.

ds said...

Ummm, I don't even know how to use Google Reader. It sounds dangerous & addictive, but it can't be any worse than what I already do: scroll through the snippets of everybody I follow, read if I'm interested (which is always),comment usually. Then I check the blogroll for the folks I've missed, because in the very beginning I thought following was only for Blogger blogs *hangs head in shame* and I've yet to update.Then there are the folks I come across on other people's blogs that begin on the favorites list and work their way over...It is a never-ending cycle, but boy do I learn a lot! I guess it truly does put the "fun" in dysfunctional ;)

Sheila said...

I use reader too. I used to use Newsgator and really liked it. I used it for work related rss feeds and for personal ones and blogs. But they dispensed with themselves for individuals and pointed me the way of reader.

I find these tools helpful to a point, but then my lists get too long and I have to cut down the number of things I have feeding in. I have to be ruthless. I only have a limted number of hours in the day, and it is only going to get worse for me as I have started to bog and will be living in a country with power cuts and intermittent internet access. Ruthlessness will be the name of the game. Pressing hte mark all as read button is only deferring the inevitable - there come a point in time when there's just too much feeding in there.

The Bumbles said...

DS - Seems like you are using the Reading List on your Blogger Dashboard? Several others here are as well. That is the same idea as the Google Reader. Although I would like to know if the Reading List allows for folders to be created or customized sorting of some type. I see that as an advantage Google Reader has. I did not know that the Reading List could be used for non-Blogger blogs either!

Sheila - Ruthless is a good way to describe it. As SPG mentioned above, I may be falling into hoarder syndrome. But I try to only follow those who follow us - lucky for us we are surrounded by such good quality bloggers!

Julie@Momspective said...

I subscribe to WAY too many blogs, I don't have time with work and kids to read them all. I typically visit every blog that visits me, to show my appreciation for them visiting mine.

stacybuckeye said...

Can I come late to the meeting? Has everyone left?
I have 98 blogs I follow in my Google Reader and, like you, feel the compulsion to get through every one. I had almost 600 posts when I got back home on Sunday morning. 600! And I still couldn't let myself mark them as read! I have now scrolled through them all but 30 and have 30 open blogs on my desktop to comment on. After I hit Publish I really need to step away for awhile.

The Bumbles said...

Stacy - I'm always here! I think you have come to the right place with your problem. I read to make sure I stay in touch with followers. But I need to institute a policy for myself to only spend X amount of time per day on my Reader. Skimming is key to get an overview and then move on or delve in. That's the only way around it without going insane or the dreaded Mark All As Read.

Lynn said...

Fun confessional posts, Molly. Blogging can definitely be addicting, especially once you start hopping around and finding people with similar interests. I have purposely avoided having any kinds of feeds or counters because I know myself, and I know I'd get too caught up in who's visiting and how long they're staying and how can I keep up with everyone, etc. I wanted blogging to be fun and to be a way to share my love of food with other people, and not have it be something I stress over. I may not keep up with everyone's blogs as well as I might if I had feeders, etc., but I do think by staying lower-tech it has helped me to really enjoy blogging, rather than it being a chore.

The Bumbles said...

Ah Lynn - how did you get to be so smart?!