When I mentioned recently that I've switched exclusively to Google Reader, Nicole questioned my claim of having 346 feeds, and asked if I was kidding.
Nope. I'm serious.
As I write this, I'm at 357. In a day or two, I may be down to 320. It's a dynamic, living thing, my feed list.
Here's what I have in my reader:
These are the "read me first" blogs. They're also the "I have 15 minutes to kill, what's out there?" ones. There are less than a dozen and when I'm home in the evening and J.J.'s asleep and Joe still has 3 hours of work and I really don't feel like cleaning the house and I've already burned through all the new entries out there, I'll just stop by for a visit and check in on comments or see if there's something I overlooked or check out their links and find something to keep me occupied. I'm a frequent commenter on these (well, frequent for me).
These are, well, my diversions. Dilbert, Joe Mathlete, Calvin & Hobbes, Kottke's remaindered links... Again, less than a dozen. Sometimes days go by that I don't check on these guys. Other days, I cross my fingers and hope for Jason to find something for me.
Mmm... Food. Recipe feeds, chefs' blogs, Slashfood, Junk Food, The Amateur Gourmet. You get the idea. Over two dozen and checked sporadically. The recipes that intrigue me either get starred for later reference, or if it's something that looks like I need to try for dinner soon, it will get copied and emailed to my gmail account, where I apply a "recipes" tag. Then I can easily search my gmail account for messages tagged "recipes" that contain whatever key ingredient(s) I have on hand. But that's another post...
The Google blog, Blogger Buzz, known issues for whatever's been released most recently, a Google Blog Search feed for people who link to me... Less than 10 of these.
4 feeds, all related to Indiana University, 3 related to IU basketball.
This tag may be deceiving. These guys are more my "A minus" feeds. 'Bout a dozen and a half, these are blogs I enjoy quite a bit. Some are local folks, Waiter Rant's in there, and some are people I just stumbled upon. Some that used to be here have graduated to the "a-list". This Fish was here, but we've parted ways. It's just not so easy for me to relate to a young, single girl in the city any more. But I still check in on her every once in a while to make sure she's doing ok.
Not surprisingly, these are all Nashville-area folks. People who usually say something that I can relate to. People who take cool pictures. People who have cute kids and pets.
Two dozen or so. All Nashville people too. Why aren't they "local"? Maybe they don't post as much as the "locals", maybe I'm interested in about half of what they say. But I am interested.
A handful of mommy blogs that I reference pretty frequently. Among other things, Baby Cheapskate lists the best diaper deals each week, saving me from scouring the Target, Walgreen's, Eckerd's, Kmart, CVS, Publix, Walmart and other ads myself. She's in Atlanta, but most things are either national or regional and still include Nashville. The Mother Load has her Freebie Fridays, and I've received a lot of great stuff at no cost - some sample-sized items, some not. Others are mommies who I can relate to (or in some cases, I'm glad I'm not) or they just amuse me and/or have cute kids or great ideas.
6 feeds from my company's site.
Over a dozen work-related sites. Product marketing, dashboards, BI, agile development. Things I really should stay on top of for work.
13 of WKRN's blogs/feeds. They're from the 20 listed here and/or the 22 listed under the "blogs" button in their top nav bar.
OK, I admit it. This is the majority of my feeds. And this is the least-monitored category. There are over 200 of these guys. This tag originated when Tim guest-blogged and posted an OPML file that contained all of the blogs on the blogroll as of that weekend. Some were already in my reader; some I immediately unsubscribed to. I've added a few new ones since then as well.
This is the last-checked, least-accessed group. The ones I scroll through in "Expanded View" and slow down if something catches my eye. Some of the guys that started in "nit" have moved up into other categories, some will probably move in the future. And as Brittney posts her newbies, I'll grab their feed, add them, and see where they end up.
I also have a "beta" tag. This is where I stick new feeds (that aren't from NiT) that I run across and think I might be interested in. They'll hang out in "beta" until I either move them into the appropriate category or unsubscribe. Usually, I'll start out with just "beta" and go from there. Others may be "technology" and "beta", or "food" and "beta" and I'll remove the "beta" status once I decide it's worth hanging onto.
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So. Do I really read 357 blogs? Heck no.
I "read" about a dozen, monitor about a gross and scan through the rest. But what I do do (heh - I said "doo doo") is opt to subscribe to the full post version of a feed, if the option's there. In addition, I use the "Expanded View" in Google Reader. That way, I can read the entire post in my reader and click through if I want to comment (or if I want to see if there are any other people who commented).
I will admit right here and now that there are more than a couple of blogs that only include their summaries in their feeds and although I might be interested in reading what they have to say, I sometimes don't click through to see if I am or not. It depends on my frame of mind/available time/speed of the wireless network at home. It may be my loss - but if I do find that when I click through, I'm usually interested, I'll take the time to either go ahead and click or I'll leave it marked unread or star it so I'll refer to it later.
That's another thing. Google Reader (like gmail) allows you to "star" individual entries. As I've mentioned, sometimes I do this so I can refer to something later. Other times, it's something that I want to follow the comments on. Reader also has a "share" feature that allows you to share individual entries with others on a publicly accessible page whether you have your own blog or not. I've yet to use this feature, but I want to. I just haven't decided how I want to...
I really don't expect anyone to be completely enthralled with my (overly?) detailed description of how I categorize and read my feeds. But maybe someone will find something they can use buried deep in all of this. Maybe your blog/news/search habits are no where near close to mine and you think I'm nuts. Or maybe you can relate and you still think I'm nuts. But I have this thing with getting bored easily and need to find something to do/read/amuse me/put me to sleep. And I have a variety of interests coupled with a burning need to approach them all as efficiently as possible. And that's why it's so important to have a reader that works for me. Seriously.
What works for you?