Blogs, and being reasonable with my own attentions

Last night I got pretty brutal in eliminating many of my BlogLines feeds to cut down on the distractions. My feeds had grown to over 220, and well, it’s just not possible to fit that many blogs into my life whether I want to or not.

I think I’ve spent too much time in blog land lately, as opposed to in the pages of books, or with the newsletters and periodicals I subscribe to for more focused learning and personal development, and I am feeling the loss.

More importantly, I am not as deep into the Ho‘ohana Community blogs as I once was, and as I’d like to be in supporting them, and I feel that loss most of all. The clincher for me last night was probably this line I’d written in my previous 3by3 post on Mahalo and Appreciation: Take nothing in this day of your life for granted.

I do appreciate all of you so much, and I cannot, and will not allow myself to otherwise divert my attentions when it’s about my own self-discipline and focus.


As you can see from this screenshot, the other thing I did was go back to using folders (on BlogLines). Over the past year’s time, I lose count of the number of times I’ve gone back and forth with this, from Folders to a purely alpha listing, and I’ve finally settled on folders for two key reasons:

1. Bloggers are too prolific. For sanity’s sake you have to stop the overwhelm, just give up, and mark all as read every so often. For me, this is much easier to do folder by folder. For instance, when all my News Feeds are in one folder I feel absolutely no remorse about not reading them unless I feel like it or am completely desperate for something to read. Okay, needless justification there ”that last thing about being desperate for new reading never happens to me.

2. The other way that folders help me is that once I get past 150 feeds or so, I can’t remember why I initially subscribed to some blogs unless the folder classification clues me in. Some of my folder names are only logical to me, for instance in a folder I call “Online magazines” you’ll find blogs that aren’t really magazines but I read them as if they are, like only when a current issue is of interest. I’ll mark these off as read with only a fraction more hesitation and qualification than I will the news media feeds.

I know I still have more work to do on BlogLines. As you can see I cut back to 160 feeds, and that’s still too much: it’ll be a continual weaning process. The numbers add up to 3,431 unread posts on those I kept, with 157 more marked to keep after I had read them. Those News Feeds are probably going back to my browser’s bookmarks and that’ll be the end of it.

Perhaps later this weekend. Last night’s edit was more emotional for me than I’d anticipated.

Related posts:

Writer’s Rewards: about the positive feedback loop in blogging.

Shortcuts in using what you’ve read: on how Blogsville has helped me find shortcuts to immediately start practicing some of the really good stuff I read about.

Where is the power in this blogging thing? In public service, suggests Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal.
Pointer to her article.
Blogs and online friendships: Just as the title says. The honey in the pot.

Time to read blogs anyone? An earlier chapter in this saga of blog overwhelm, with more on BlogLines — Todd and Bren help out in the comments.
How this coach (me) reads a blog: This was from January, and I’ll warn you I probably need to go back and check that all the links in it still work. Talks about my campaign for About Pages on all blogs.


  1. says

    Very good point. I’m currently up to 156 feeds and that is after getting rid of some.
    I read a tip from someone that he wouldn’t add a new feed without getting rid of 2 feeds that were essential.
    Thanks Rosa!

  2. says

    220! Zounds! I have also recently done a purge. Got rid of all but a couple of political blogs, thinking all the while about Tom Robbins, who wrote something like, “The world’s problems will not be solved by political means because they are not political. They are philosophical.” I would add “spiritual.”

  3. says

    Yes, I understand the problem. I am nearing 300 feeds and the last time I was this high I also made some significant cutbacks.
    I did try folders before but they did not work as well as I wanted. Maybe I’ll give them another try.
    Focus and time management is a constant challenge. There is so much to read out here in the blogosphere. And what if someone says something that I can add my two cents too! I do not want to miss that opportunity.
    I do regret spending time reading here because I do sacrifice book reading time however I do not let the regret linger long. It is still reading, and I am still learning, and that is good! It is also good because there is so much interaction here. The book is more one sided.

  4. says

    You remind me of a painting called “Woman Who Wants It All.”
    I am fortunate(?) enough to have a lot of time on planes to read off-line stuff. I love this, particularly because it is such a one-way thing. I read, I learn, I file, etc. With blogs, the seductive power is that they are so *not* one-way. We read; We learn; We file. And We poke at each other on the good things and the bad; the agreements and disagreements.
    Lately, I have been able to keep up with *reading* other blogs but I have felt a void because I haven’t been able to interact with them due to time (and energy / motivation) limitations the past 6 weeks or so.
    The best part of “talking story” (in general, as well as your blog) is the interaction. It’s not the same without it.

  5. says

    Dwayne, you are right, I admit it not knowing what that painting looks like — I do want it all!
    You’ve hit on what I most wanted to say here before I allowed my post to meander down the folders pathway: I miss the interaction, and I genuinely want to support the rest of the community (both on their own blogs and in other non-blogging ways at times) for it adds to my own well-being too. Knowing you as I do, I’m not surprised you can feel the same void at times too — are you sitting next to me in that painting? And Todd. And Dick. And Steve. And so many others in our community.
    Now that’s an intriguing thought, to imagine just what that Ho‘ohana Community painting would look like, on a canvas first washed in the aloha spirit which drives and nurtures us all.

  6. says

    More on Blogging Attentions: the ROA discussion.

    Remember Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman? It was that rare book I never finished reading. I even gave it away to someone else because I was so confident I never would finish reading it: Goleman’s writing style just didn’t connect

  7. says

    Dwayne’s comments could have come right out of my mouth. I too, have plenty of time on airplanes when I can read books, magazines and trade journals. In the evenings when I am sitting in my hotel room (like right now) I appreciate the time to go through my unread blog posts and involve myself with this online community.
    Rosa, thanks for all you do to keep it going.

  8. says

    Rosa, you are super-human. A woman of many talents. Your most marvelous talent is connecting to others – and making us all feel special. I see a thread here – one that is being echoes all through the blogosphere: how the *&%$ do I keep up with all these blogs!!!
    Answer: you don’t. Not every day. You find a couple of dozen that you just can’t do without, and you follow them. You subscribe to others as you would to a newspaper or magazine, and read them at leisure, or when preparing for a presentation ;-)
    Meanwhile, one of the best things any blogger can do is come to Talking Story and soak up your posts, connect with your Ho’ohana community, and just be thankful that you cut through the chaff.