Time to read blogs, anyone?

After I wrote my How This Coach Reads a Blog post I got into a conversation with a new Bloglines user, who challenged me,

“No way Rosa, unless you are on a computer 24/7 there is no possible way you can do that much reading  – unless there are only a dozen blogs on your blogroll?”

I’ve also had a few people accuse me of being a pusher with a new drug: blogs are addicting.

Well in the interest of transparency and full disclosure (but Bren, I will openly say I am not yet going to unlock my stats), here you go, you can take a look at my blogroll if you want. At the time I write this there are 84 feeds on there, but the count changes on almost a daily basis, both up and down. My subscription is public, and yep, if you have a blog I’ve subscribed to and have been wondering, you will see that Ikeloa is me: I used Bloglines to read other blogs before I started writing one of my own. ‘Ike loa is to seek knowledge and wisdom, and that’s what I was doing.

Anyway, back to the question of how I read a blog as thoroughly in-depth as I proclaim to, and still keep up. Three things:

  1. I didn’t say I keep up with every one I subscribe to. That’s the hard part, and probably not possible given the fact that I do other things besides read blogs (really, I do. sometimes they even have nothing to do with business.) There’s a handful I do read almost daily, and some I get to once a month if I’m lucky.
  2. I might not have been too clear that my How This Coach Reads a Blog essay was about how I read it for the very first time. And I will admit I had a second, slightly veiled motive to have more bloggers write and organize them the way I like to read them.
  3. The Bloglines folder capability is what helps me separate point no.1 from no.2.

Since reading Bren’s Tagalicious post, I’m giving this whole folders versus tags concept more thought – I am so heavily weighted in Word docs and Excel files, that if someone knows how to tag ‘em versus folder ‘em, please please let me know. I’ve begun training myself with using more tags in GMail (thank you Terry), and I am taking Bren’s recommendation to use del.icio.us. Wish I’d done that a long time ago. However for now, I’ll share my folders system with Bloglines, for I’m feeling a sense of responsibility for getting some of you into it when I wrote about your subscription options.

So back to my Bloglines use: When I first find a new blog that looks pretty intriguing, I’ll put it in the folder that says “Newest Ones,” and I’ll do my How This Coach Reads a Blog expedition when I know I have a lot of time. Admittedly, “a lot of time” normally means when the rest of my family is asleep. They’ll just sit there in that folder until I get to them, one by one (the newest blogs, not my family), currently about one blog a day.

The other folders are organized the way most of us organize folders – other than being alphabetically ordered, they make sense to me in a way that they may befuddle the rest of the world, especially the blog author who thinks of their blog as something else. But it’s my comprehension and not always your intention, so don’t take it personally. And I change the folders they’re in all the time.

Since I’m already picking on Bren here, let’s use his blog as an example. Bren is my techie-in-real-people-language hero, mentoring us all in taking management efficiency to new levels, but that would be too long to put on a folder name. Slacker Manager is in Management now, but at some time or the other Bren’s been in and out of Business Focus, Ho‘ohana, People, and Book Blogs (SlackerAtWork will be published soon, right Bren?). I know that one day he’s destined to be in Big Name Gurus (who incidentally can amuse me more than inspire me at this point, but I do admire them or wouldn’t subscribe at all.)

I don’t have a Leadership folder yet, because I haven’t found a blog that inspires me enough to be in it – please send me your recommendations if you have them, or consider it your personal challenge! As some of you know, I think of Management versus Leadership in a pretty stubborn way. Hey, that would be a good future Ho‘ohana „¢ topic don’t you think?

My hope in writing Talking Story is that it ends up in one of your Management or Leadership folders, and I trust you’ll let me know when I stray too far off-topic.

On the “blogs are addicting” subject, yes, they are. But here’s another way to think about it: bloggers help me filter. If I’m interested in a blog’s writing, their links lead me to like-minded reading. And they help me find gems I’d never have found on my own both online and off. The bloggers I love have helped me cut through to the heart of what I really want to read about on the web, and ignore the rest of the clutter and noise.

I used to have a whole bunch of News Feeds on my blogroll (Wired, Yahoo, WSJ etc.) but it was just too much to keep up with. Now I don’t bother with any but the Hawaii ones, because if something truly is worth my attention a blogger will lead me to it. My Pubsub subscription helps me out with the whole news thing too.

You might also notice that the majority of my blog subscriptions are about business in some shape or form (yes David, you too!). I’ll stumble onto a cool diarist’s blog now and then, but unless they’re a business person, they tend not to keep my attention very long. So in my mind a blog addiction is not something you apologize for: it is truly a business learning tool.

One last thing – I don’t have a Bloglines folder name that is in reality a capsule of my favorite daily reads (which also change all the time) so don’t waste any time trying to figure it out. If your blog is one of my faves, you know who you are. And if you’re a regular Talking Story reader you know I make my favorites known in other ways; I suppose they’re pretty obvious.

Now, can we get back to Talking Story?

If you haven’t used it yet, click on this button and it’ll help you keep up!

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  1. says

    Rosa, thanks for sharing your list. I always like picking up a few new blogs. I am techy-challenged, so if I can figure out how you shared your bloglines list, I will reciprocate.

  2. says

    Aloha Lisa, thanks for stopping by, and you are quite welcome.
    The link for my Bloglines list reads like this:
    and if yours is also public, you should be able to just replace the ikeloa part with whatever you use for your subscription name.
    Took me a while to figure it out too :-)

  3. says

    Reading and keeping up with blogs are 2 very different actions, in my opinion. For example, I with “read” through BBC News, WSJ, Engaget and NY Times for example.
    But I will “keep up” with Rosa, Wiz Speak, Terry at Fellowship, SlackerManager, Business Evolutionist and Adam Curry (and a bunch of others).
    Reading is more passive. Keeping up requires my thought and a lot of times, an action, such as a comment (or even writing down a note in my Moleskine for a future post!).
    It reminds me of voicemail. There are some calls that I don’t need to return, but there are ones that I need to call back or take an action based on the info.
    It takes time and effort, but don’t all the good things that we do?

  4. says

    Just a quick addition to the bloglines dealio…one great way “keep up”, as Todd mentions, is to liberally use the “clip/blog this” link on each post in bloglines. This will save that particular post indefinitely, along with any arbitrary text you want to associate with it.
    I use “clippings” to keep track of posts that I’ll use as blog fodder later on, or stuff that I just want to track at a later date. I’m too lazy to make a note in my Palm every time I find something new, so I’ll just process the “clippings” every so often…
    And, geez, Rosa…thanks for the kind words!

  5. says

    Aloha Todd and Bren, mahalo for adding to this.
    Todd I like your distinction between reading and “keeping up.” When you mention voicemail it reminded me of how quickly I trained my own managers and professional associates to use email instead of voicemail for me, because email was so much quicker to scan, prioritize, and respond to. I’ve gotten to where I rehearse my voicemails before I ever leave one for somebody, because I am so cognizant of not taking up too much of their time.
    Along the way though, you also learn to invest in relationship when the personal conversations do happen.
    Bren, your clippings tip is great – I just used your technique and loved it because you pointed out adding my own arbitrary notes: I hadn’t done that before, and so my clippings ended up being just another full folder that I had to re-read instead of start to use.
    So thanks guys for sharing your ideas. Sometimes simple things can be so profound.