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Blog Improvement Project Week #18: Organizing Your Blog Reading

2009bip-150x210With all the excitement of Book Blogger Appreciation Week this week’s BIP post slimmed my mind. However, BBAW also gave me the inspiration for the topic, so that’s exciting.

One thing that’s become out of control thanks to BBAW (in a good way) is my blog reading life. How on earth do I keep track of all the blogs I want to read, and is there a way to help me make sure I’m commenting on blogs as much as I want to?

This topic came up during Maw Books Bloggiesta with a Clean Up Your Feedreader mini challenge by Rebecca (The Book Lady’s Blog). I found that post quite helpful, so I urge you to check it out. Another pair of posts I recently found were Decluttering Your Feedreader and Organizing Your Feedreader from Organizing Your Way.

The task for this week isn’t so much a task as a discussion. I want us to talk about tips, tricks, and best practices for organizing your reading life. If you have a blog post on this topic (or want to write one), feel free to leave a link in the comments and I’ll add it to the post. Otherwise, let’s just chat back and forth in the comments on this post and see what other bloggers have to say. Feel free to reply to others and use the “Subscribe to Comments” link under the comments to keep track of the conversation.

Once you feel inspired and read to make some changes to your feedreader, if necessary, go ahead and do that. Come back and report on your progress, sharing any good tips and tricks you discovered during the process. Good luck!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Carrie September 24, 2009, 4:52 pm

    i unsubscribe from any partial feeds so that when i’m in my feed reader i can actually read.

    if i’m unsure about a feed i click over to the blog and see if anything on the first couple pages of most recent stuff was useful or relevant to me. if it’s not then i unsubscribe from those too.

    the other thing i’m really grappling with right now is not feeling obligated to have my unread count at 0 all the time. this week i’ve been making it past 10am before i pop open the feed reader when just a couple weeks ago i was checking it first thing when i woke up.

    • Kim September 25, 2009, 9:20 am

      I hate partial feeds too; when I was cleaning up the blogs in my reader I just unsubscribed to partial feeds.

      I agree with you on the obligation thing; I like to keep things clean and organized, so leaving feeds full makes me feel sort of anxious. I’m working on that though 🙂

  • Kathy September 24, 2009, 5:00 pm

    I tried to organize my feedreader, but the way I did it didn’t really help. I’m going to read those posts and see if I can come up with a better way.

  • Anastasia September 24, 2009, 6:35 pm

    I just recently came up with a way to organize my book blog feeds that lets me actually read (nearly) every post! So this comment might be a bit long. (Should I write a post? I’ve been meaning to do a thing about keeping track of comments you leave, at any rate.)

    I use GoogleReader as my main feedreader, and while you can organize feeds with folders it unfortunately it doesn’t let you use subfolders. I had to improvise with dashes, and so my organization (for book things, I mean) looks basically like this: Authors, Books – Contests, Books – Design, Books – Friends, Books – Games (memes and things), Books – Local (for local bloggers, of course), Books – Professionals, Books – Unsorted (everyone else, basically). It all works out pretty well, actually, except that the Books – Unsorted folder is getting really big, and I’m not sure who to add in the Books – Friends folder. Hm. There’s also something you can do with tags, but I haven’t tried anything with that. If anyone has any tag tips, I’d be glad to read them!

    Since I’ve started organizing my feeds more, I’ve managed to keep my unread posts number down to under 50 at any one time (but then, I check it a lot throughout the day). Yay!

    I don’t really need to organize any deeper yet, since I only subscribe to maybe…50 blogs? But I’m sure if I got up to 100+ I’d have to think of something else. By first letter in blog name, maybe?

    • Carrie September 24, 2009, 8:56 pm

      tags are kind of like folders but for individual posts rather than whole feeds (though the whole feeds also get tagged with the name of the folder they’re in).

      i use them to distinguish posts i’d want to refer back to for various reasons (each reason has a tag)

      • Anastasia September 24, 2009, 9:36 pm

        Oh, I see! I tend to just star posts I want to find again or add them to my Delicious account. 😀

    • Kim September 25, 2009, 9:17 am

      I’ve got a similar sort of system, Anastasia. I’ve got Authors, Book Blog Community (BBAW, contests, stuff like that), Book Blogs 1 (friends and favorites), Book Blogs New (for blogs I’m still getting to know), Book Blogs I Admire (for bloggers I aspire to be like), then the rest divided by letter (A-E, F-M, M-Z).

      The problem with that system is that the alphabetized blogs tend to get ignored. I make reading and commenting on “Book Blogs 1” and “Book Blogs New” a priority, then end up skimming the other lists. I’m still musing about how to solve this problem.

  • Jackie (Farm Lane Books) September 25, 2009, 4:00 am

    I really need to sort out my feedreader. I subscribe to too many blogs (especialy since I added lots more during BBAW) I feel like I’m spreading myself too thinly and would like to reduce the number I read in order to build up a better relationship with my favourites.

    I would love to remove those that I haven’t felt inspired to comment on in the last few months, but can’t see a way of doing that. Do any of the feedreaders let you know how many times you’ve clicked through to each site and how many times you’ve commented on them?

    • Natasha @ Maw Books September 26, 2009, 8:27 pm

      Jackie – If you use GR, then yes, you can at least see how many of their posts you are reading compared to how many posts they are publishing. Not sure about click through rates though.

  • Mandi @ Organizing Your Way September 25, 2009, 8:44 am

    Thanks so much for linking to my posts, Kim!

    And I agree with Carrie about partial feeds. I am subscribed to ONE blog with a partial feed because her blog is unique enough to justify it. Otherwise, I unsubscribe from them automatically because it’s such a pain!

    Although…I just downloaded this Firefox add-on a few weeks ago, and it makes it allows you to see the full post (and comment) from within Google Reader, so I may change my opinion on that moving forward. It’s called Better GReader.

    • Kim September 25, 2009, 9:13 am

      That’s great, thanks for top about Better GReader. I have a Grease Monkey script installed on one of my computers that sort of does that, but doesn’t always work very well. I’m going to test this one out.

      The link to it, if others are interested, is here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6424

  • Rebecca Reid September 26, 2009, 6:14 am

    I recently installed the grease monkey plug in and I love it! Saves time, and means I don’t have to unsubscribe to partial feeds.

    I think this is a great subject. I just added tons to my Google Reader and I’m sure in the next months I’ll unsubscribe from those I’m just not interested in. But for right now, I need to just get caught up on reading blogs!!

  • Jeanne September 28, 2009, 9:26 am

    This is so informative. I don’t have a system, and while I may not implement one after reading everyone’s suggestions, it will be good to know about more options.

  • Care September 29, 2009, 6:42 am

    I know my random blog reading makes me miss many great posts but my first loyalty is to read the latest post(s) by people who comment at my blog and then get to my favorites (which are those in my reader I feel I’ve been neglecting?!) and then only those blogs in my reader with the highest unread post count THEN back to my faves or (weekly geeks linky list) and THEN whoever in Twitter posts a “Hey-I-Just-Posted” (cuz I’m nice like that) and then when my googlereader hits 1000+ I clear it out and see if I can keep it at zero for a few days and then…
    I check myself into Blog-Rehab and start all over again! 🙂
    It’s supposed to fun, right?

    • Kim September 29, 2009, 9:59 pm

      It is supposed to be fun! Sounds like a sort of system to me — I’m too methodical and obsessed with having unread folders to do that. Although, once GR made it so you could turn off the unread counts next to blogs my life got a lot better 🙂

  • Suey September 29, 2009, 3:37 pm

    Just posted a question this topic brought to mind, and one I’ve been thinking about lately since BBAW. I ‘d love to know what you think: http://sueysbooks.blogspot.com/2009/09/to-add-or-not-to-add-that-is-question.html

  • Sherrie October 1, 2009, 10:08 am

    Hi Kim,
    Great idea for Blog Improvement. I really liked the articles you put a link to. They were very informative. Mine is posted at my place, Just Books if you want to take a look. Have a great day!


  • Julia Smith October 2, 2009, 5:22 pm

    After recently reorganizing my book review archives, giving some attention to my sidebar links sounds perfect. Strange as this may seem, I don’t have anything linked up to a feed. I just get to blogs from my link list. No tempting blog post titles to sway me. I just feel like visiting a particular blogger and then head over.

    • Kim October 5, 2009, 9:30 am

      I sometimes think not having a feed reader would be nice; they I could just visit blogs whenever and not let the “unread posts” count stress me out. But feed readers are efficient and save time from clicking through blogs, so I like it for that.

  • Sharon October 2, 2009, 10:05 pm

    I started cleaning out my reader a couple of weeks ago. I don’t check the feeder very often, and have a heart attack when I check in. Yikes! It’s down to 250 now. The blogs I follow are mainly bookish blogs and I separate them with titles like author blogs, children, libraries, teens, etc. I delete blogs that have partial feeds too.

  • Jodie October 3, 2009, 9:48 am

    I use bloglines despite its annoying tendancy to tell me people all of a sudden have 200 new posts when they have none – it’s just an eye preferenance thing, for me bloglines is more readable. Anyway just dropping by to say that I’ve done a couple of thigns for this task:

    got rid of the blogs I don’t read (mostly craft, blog news blogs or blogs from the big literary establishments like NYTimes) maybe I’ll pick those up again someday, but they were clogging my reader bar.

    took any blog with over 50 posts back to base so I can catch up with the posts as they accumulate – if any move up to 50 unread again I might think about rmeoving them for now

    I plan on sorting out some folders, I already have a WG participants folder so I just need to decide how to organise. Thanks for this task, it was a push I really needed.

    • Kim October 5, 2009, 9:29 am

      Sounds like good progress! I got rid of a few random national blogs this week too which was refreshing.