Blog Overload! (or, How Do You Keep On Top of Your Blog Reading?)

It’s finally hit me. Blog overload, I mean. I spent all day yesterday trying to catch up on comments, and I don’t feel like I’ve made a dent at all in all the blog posts still to be read.

(The state of my Google Reader is beginning to eerily feel like an online version of my physical TBR piles.)

I thought I had a great system nailed down. First, I check out the recent blog posts of everyone who comments here, if they have a blog. Second, I have a special folder in Google Reader called “Must Reads”. That’s the one I hit first. It contains all sorts of blogs: book blogs, writing blogs, just-my-life blogs. All the blogs I really enjoy.

The problem is, that folder has recently gotten totally out of control. So not only is it impossible for me now to make it through that folder in one sitting (I need at least a few days, I think), I STILL have all the other blogs that I liked enough to add to my feedreader originally, the ones that aren’t in the Must Reads folder yet (“yet” being the key word here), and yes, I do still want to check in with everyone.

So now I’m toying with the idea of a different kind of system: separate folders for each day of the week, each one containing a random selection of blogs. I’m wondering if that might help me to at least peek in on what everyone’s doing at least once a week. I’d still keep my “Must Reads” folder and try to get through that every couple of days, too.

I can’t bear the thought of unsubscribing from any of the blogs I’m subscribed to; in fact, despite the fact that my Google Reader is full to bursting, I just keep adding more feeds.

Here’s what I’m wondering: How do you keep on top of all the blogs you follow? Do you have a system you can share?

22 thoughts on “Blog Overload! (or, How Do You Keep On Top of Your Blog Reading?)

  1. Susan @ Reading Upside Down

    I have an overflowing Google reader as well. There are so many great blogs out there, but if I spend the time I need to catch up on recent blog posts for all my favourites, I don’t have time to write any myself.”

    I’ve recent set up tabs on my readers for book blogs – favourites and book blogs – general, the same two categories for general blogs and one tab for forums like the online bookclub that I am part of.

    I guess I just muddle through and feel bad that I don’t get to visit everyone that I would like to. I’m also adding new blogs each day, so I guess the situation isn’t going to improve in the near future.

    I do like to see recommendations/summaries on Twitter about blog posts and will often follow a link through from there.

    Susan @ Reading Upside Down’s last blog post..But I Thought Everyone Read this Stuff…

  2. Debbie

    I don’t know how many blogs you follow but I have only a little over 100 in my Google Reader and I usually tend to get through them every day or every other day. If I let it go beyond that I tend to feel overwhelmed. Like if I’m on vacation I will usually mark everything read even though it kills me. But if I don’t it would be near impossible to catch up.

    I have no real system but I really think trying to keep on top of any one thing is key. Once you get behind I think it’s impossible to catch up especially when you have everything else in life-work, family, etc. that takes up most of your day.

    Debbie’s last blog post..All About Us #4: Who Made You a Princess? by Shelley Adina

  3. Debbie

    Oh and you know where I really feel overwhelmed? It Twitter! I’m on the West Coast so by time I wake up and get into work I have like 6 hours of Twitter to catch up on, not to mention personal email and work email all before the actual work day starts. I feel like I catch only parts of interesting Twitter conversation because I don’t have time to go back and find the origins of the topic.

    Debbie’s last blog post..All About Us #4: Who Made You a Princess? by Shelley Adina

  4. Cathryn

    I have no system because I’m new to the blog-o-sphere and already it’s out of control!

    For now my system is like snacking, when I’m waiting for a meeting to start or resting between sets when I’m lifting weights, I snack on blogs, but I pretty much just go through the way they show up in my reader and try to stay on top of them. I don’ t have folders yet, but thanks for the suggestion, that will help.

    Cathryn’s last blog post..Best Ball

  5. Memory

    When I have a reasonable number of unread posts in my reader, (say, 100 or so), I just read each blog in the order it appears on the Home screen.

    When things are getting out of control, I adopt a much less sensible system. I start off with the recently updated blog with the most unread items. Once I’ve read through all those, I look at the blogs that appear on the little scroll-down menu off to the right. Just the ones that show up without scrolling, mind. I choose the one with the most unread entries, read through all those, and repeat the process.

    Memory’s last blog post..Oh, Pronunciation

  6. Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog

    I know exactly how you feel, and I think the comparison to TBR piles is perfect! It seems like just as soon as I get caught up on blog reading, I have a crazy week, don’t get to read blogs for several days, and find myself waking up on Saturday morning to 1000+ in ye olde Google Reader. I don’t have a set system—when I have enough time, I run through them alphabetically, as they pop up in GR. When I’m running short on time, I jump through and just look at favorites.

    I’ve been meaning to divide the blogs I read into folders for a while but just can’t seem to find the time….definitely something to consider.

    Rebecca @ The Book Lady’s Blog’s last blog post..BTT: What’s Your Niche?

  7. Belle Post author

    Nymeth, I’m definitely going to give the days of the week folders a try. It might be a stab in the dark, but it does seem like it might work!

    Susan, I feel the same way, like it’s a balancing trick. I also want to keep up with my writing and then there’s stuff like family, the house, the garden …

    Debbie, I have well over a 100 blogs in my feedreader. Google Reader doesn’t give me an exact count (or at least, I’m not sure where to look), but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are about 500 blogs stuffed in there. I don’t have any problems with Twitter anymore, though – I just decided I wasn’t going to do ANY catch-up, and I jump into interesting conversations without so much as a by-your-leave :) People don’t seem to mind, and it’s been much more fun.

    Maybe that’s what I should think about doing with the blogs I follow – only read and comment on the most recent posts. But then … what will I be missing?!

    Kathy, I personally think you’re magic when it comes to this. Just saying. 😉

    Cathryn, I love your analogies. Snacking is such a nice, fun word; it reminds me to not take blog hopping too seriously. I’m going to miss some great posts but I’ll catch some great ones, too, right. I suspect, though, that you will be needing folders very soon …

    Rhapsodyinbooks, it’s definitely an addiction. Kind of like my book addiction – in fact, I see many, many similarities!

    Memory, I don’t seem to see the same window. Although the Home page of my Google Reader does have a “A Look at What’s New” section – that might be a good idea when I’m running short of time.

    Rebecca, I’ve been wondering myself where I’m going to snatch the time to divide them all up into folders …

  8. Bookwormom

    I don’t have a good system either, TBH. All my feeds are organized by subject into folders. I try to go through one or two folders every day. Alot depends on how good the post titles are. If your post title catches my eye (funny, book titles, interviews, asks a ??, etc.) I’m more likely to stop & read it. If it’s too generic ..I’ll skip it. I feel bad about it, but I do the same thing with books too.

    I have to admit to prioritizing reading & blogging over commenting, though. I can’t manage to keep up with the commenting & everything else. I’ve not tried Twitter because of my fears that I’ll be totally overwhelmed.


    Bookwormom’s last blog post..Which Fantasy Writer are You?

  9. Maxine

    Like you I use a RSS reader (Google reader) and have folders – work, daily read, and various personal interest ones. I try not to subscribe to more than 300 blogs, and use the google metrics page that comes with the Reader to delete those I don’t read very often or that hardly ever post. Basically, that’s it – I just “mark as read” certain folders if I can’t get to GR for a day/few days and there is too much in there.

    As someone said, Twitter, Friend Feed, Facebook etc just make it all worse – I use Friend Feed as a reading group and for a couple of other groups (some work) but don’t get distracted into all its other rooms/discussions. Twitter and FB I barely visit, no time. Most of these applications can be aggregated in one of them (eg Twitter and FB to Friend feed) but you do see a lot of duplicates. Friend Feed is quite easy to organise and filter, though the recent redesign did not help at all in that regard – still possible though to create a priority order of links via their group system.

  10. Anna

    I have the same problem, but I don’t think folders would help me. Only more time to sit in front of the computer would help me, but who has that much time?? Just looking at the number of unread posts in Google Reader gets me frazzled.

    Anna’s last blog post..Thanks a Bunch!

  11. Margot

    I have been keeping track of how much time I spend reading and commenting and it is AVERAGING four hours a day. I’m retired, I have time. But still I tell myself I could have been reading a book during that time. I can’t stop myself. There are so many interesting blogs and posts to read and things to explore.

    I do have all the blogs I follow divided into different days of the week and then I have one folder I call Visit Everyday. I do it with bookmarks and save Google Reader for catching the people who don’t post every day. The problem with my system is that the Visit Everyday list is now huge. After that I go the ones for that particular day but if I miss a day then I have two days to make up. It’s just a mess. If anybody solves the problem they should write a book and make some money on it – well, assuming bloggers have time to read it.

    Margot’s last blog post..Two Summer Salads

  12. Belle Post author

    Amanda, I find that post titles make a lot of difference to me, too. I like reading reviews and also collections of titles because I am always adding to my list of books I want to read. But put in a discussion post and I can never stop myself from clicking over and commenting – I enjoy those kinds of posts the most.

    Maxine, I have taken to “mark all as read” when I’ve caught only the last few posts I’ve missed for any specific blog, and I have to say, after doing it for a while I don’t feel guilty about it the way I used to.

    Anna, I’d definitely say yes to more time!

    Beth F, I think trying to not worry too much about it is the real key.

    Margot, you’ve got a point there about the amount of actual time it takes to read other blogs and comment. I have never timed it myself, but now that I know that in half an hour I can have 1000 words on my latest fiction project, maybe I need to decide on a specific time frame just for reading blogs and stick to that. Toss guilt out the window … I am very glad to hear you’re doing the days of the week thing and it’s sort of working for you. I haven’t considered doing it through bookmarks, though – I should think about trying that. I use the Zotero plugin for Firefox and it makes saving and categorizing and making notes on links a breeze.

    You made me laugh with your book for bloggers comment. :)

  13. Pingback: BOOKS AND MOVIES » Bookish links for Saturday, June 13, 2009

  14. Deanna

    I use the folders. I set my folders up by subject matter. For example, I have a folder for all the book blogs I like to follow. A folder for cooking related blogs. A folder for friends. A folder for authors. A folder for inspirational type blogs (religious and what not), A folder for frugal topics. Etc…
    Then, if I am not in the mood for a certain subject I will skim over the blogs very briefly. I always read my book blogs and friend blogs daily.

    Sometimes, if life has gotten in the way which translates to very little computer time, I just mark a folder as read without skimming. I do not that much but at times it is necessary.

  15. Rebecca

    I can totally relate to my GR feeling like my TBR pile and list. Sometimes I wonder if it will ever go down past 1000+. I think, well, I could read less blogs. But then I miss out on finding new books to read, conversing with people, and getting in on the convos going around. Then I think well heck I am missing half the convos anyways because I am so late to getting to anything. *Sigh* I just try to play catch up as often as possible and not feel overwhelmed if I can’t get to every post. I still try to get to every blog at least.
    .-= Rebecca´s last blog ..Monday Movie Meme: On Tuesday :) =-.

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  17. Bernadette in Australia

    The fact I am a week or so late reading your post might give you an indication of how behind I am with my blog reading and commenting :) This evening I am going through my RSS reader and doing a whole swag of ‘mark as read’. It’s all I can do at this point and I will try to keep up in future. I need to quit work so I can devote myself to this full time.


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