One Day Short Of A Full Year
March 4, 2009 1 Comment
364: That’s the number of blogs I currently subscribe to, according to my Google Reader. Almost one for each day of the year. If I don’t clean up my reader in a day or so I will easily get up to the “1000+ new posts” level. Thus, the whole endeavor requires constant maintenance and vigilance.
This surely raises the question: what is wrong with me?
Actually, 364 is the number of RSS feeds, not “blogs” per se. Some of them are local news feeds (I seem to have a strange fascination with following local news from places I used to live – far more so than when I actually lived there). A few of them are probably job-search agents from, like, 2007 and 2005 that still churn out jobs-by-keyword in fields I don’t work in. Some are robots that do things like find academic articles in this or that journal (and which I basically ignore). And a good chunk of them are probably dead blogs that haven’t posted anything in months or years.
But the fact remains that I seem to subscribe to, and follow, a HUGE amount of info streams (in theory – in practice I skim/skip through most of this tidal wave, of course). And it grows all the time, if only because I use Google’s browse/discover feature to let it recommend new feeds it thinks I might like (based on other folks who subscribe to some of the same stuff as I do), and am constantly subscribing to new things sight-unseen. In some cases this has meant that because one day I randomly decided to subscribe to, say, a physics blog, then after a while due to Google’s recommendations I slowly but surely end up exploring & subscribing to the entire ‘physics blog’ branch of the blogosphere, even though I rarely read any of them (even if I could understand them). Google has also apparently decided I’m really interested in the Seattle Mariners, in Israel, and in the mortgage industry – cuz my current recommendations are all heavily weighted toward those areas for whatever reason.
But what am I really looking for in all this flood of info? I guess I’m looking for very specific, niche, small type blogs, the fear being that there’s a blog out there that would be just perfect for me, enrich my life & bring me useful links and/or writing on a regular basis, and I just don’t know about it cuz it’s too small and/or never linked by others. You know, like this blog! I’m looking for blogs like mine, I guess. What an egomaniac.
The “subscribe to as much as possible and let Google recommend my way through the blogosphere” is one approach for drilling into the various branches of the ‘sphere, trying to find those few blogs – like Cobb, Curiosity, TMLutas, Mike Beversluis, and Sheila O’Malley that are each either smallish, valuable, and/or that I just feel lucky to have stumbled upon.
The problem is that my current method may not be a very good one. Looking at the above list, I don’t think I found any of those blogs that way. The more common vectors for these and other good finds have been: (1) following an impressive commenter on some larger, more popular blog; (2) exploring highly unique personal connections/interests through straightforward blog searching; (3) recommendations on blogs I like, and (4) folks who link to me – or to a former blog of mine – or at least, folks who are recommended by other niche folks who’ve linked to me.
The dual problem to all this is: how will the people (all 5-7 of them) who might be inclined to like my blog ever find it? Perhaps the preceding paragraph is an indication of the likely answer.