Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What Do I Do All Day? I Read Other People’s Blogs

Blog (detall)
Blog (detall) (Photo credit: Lady Madonna)
I read a lot of them. Some are professional and followed by thousands of people, such as or Some are personal, with only a few dedicated readers. But I treat them all the same, and here’s what I mean.

Readers shouldn’t burden themselves with remembering to look for new posts from their favorite bloggers. Updated blog posts should come to the reader. If I like a blogger for any number of reasons, I make sure that I am given the opportunity to read all of their posts. Based on the title of an individual post, or on my impression of the first few sentences, I may or may not actually read the entire post, but I always want to have that option handed to me on a silver platter.

This means that, in one way or another, I subscribe to my favorite blogs. At least two methods are available to make sure that I never miss a post.

Email Notification

Many blogs have an option where the reader can be notified of new posts through email. For example, if you want to receive an email version of each of my blog posts, then simply enter your email address near the top right-hand corner of my blog, in the box entitled “Receive Email Updates of New Posts”. Many, but not all blogs have a similar option.

If you only follow a few blogs, then this method may work fine for you. However, I subscribe to a large number of blogs, and I don’t want my inbox cluttered in this way. So I go with another option.

RSS Feeds

For most sites I subscribe via a blog reader. By far, the most popular one has been Google Reader, which I have used for years. Unfortunately, Google Reader is going away on July 1. But there are several free, replacement options. I’ve chosen to start using a program called This service interfaces with my existing Google Reader account, and when Google Reader is gone forever, Feedly will seamlessly take over, or so I am told.

If you have more than a few blogs that you subscribe to, I highly recommend that you take the five minutes required to set up a service like Feedly. Of course there are more blog reader options than just this one. In the comments section of this post, please let me know what service you like to use.

Why Waste Invest Time Reading Blogs

Prior to Al Gore inventing the internet, we had very limited sources of information, and said information was largely pre-filtered for us, whether we liked it or not. It was difficult to find specific, enlightening, entertaining reading on the most interesting subjects. This is no longer the case.

Each of the blogs that I have chosen to follow speaks to me in some way. They may address topics that I am passionate about, or perhaps I simply connect with the author. In a few cases, the bloggers are personal friends. In most cases, however, I’ve never met them.

Another great feature of blogs is their interconnectivity. I try to have a few hyperlinks in each of my blog posts, and so do the authors of the blogs that I follow. In this way, readers can drill much deeper or broader into the topic if they so desire.

Currently, I subscribe to about 50 blogs. Some of them post multiple times per day. Others post only a few times a year. If a blog repeatedly publishes articles that don’t interest me, I remove it from my list. Many of my favorite blogs, however, pique my interest as little as 25% of the time. But I still keep my subscription because those articles appeal to me, and I don’t waste much time on the other 75%. I simply read the first sentence or two before I determine that I’m not interested.

I know that 50 blogs is a bit extreme, but I have a thirst for knowledge and a lot of free time on my hands. I encourage you to find at least a few blogs that you wish to follow, and set up a system where the posts come to you, so that you can sift through them at your leisure. After all, you need something to stare at on your cell phone while everyone else around the dinner table is staring at theirs.

This is the seventh in a series of posts about how a disabled person like me passes the time at home, now that I no longer work.    

Here are my other posts in this series:
1. I Watch (mostly) Quality Television
2. I Digitize and Archive Family Photos and Videos
3. I Read Books
4. I Attend Courses at Top Universities (sort of)
5. I Nap
6. I Blog

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  1. Great post, as usual. I would only add that, as a blogger myself, (and this applies to facebook posts as well) if you like a post, just saying "Like," is nice, but FAR better to leave a comment. Even if it's just to say "Nice post!," or, "I agree," or whatever. Getting comments and feedback is huge - validates the keeping of the blog, and lets me know that someone is actually reading it. So take a second and let me know you're out there. To paraphrase the old joke, I can't hear you breathing.

  2. So that's what an RSS feed is!
    And now I'm realizing I haven't posted in soooooo long. Oh, the guilt. Could I get by with saying I've been too busy reading YOU?

  3. I have already changed over to Don't like change so it takes a while to get comfortable with it. Now I love it.


  4. If I don't read the blog posts from my list of favs, the day just isn't complete! Of course, I also check facebook regularly. If I had MS before internet access, I'd be so lonesome!

  5. Stephen, you are so right, and I'm one of the worst offenders. I love to receive comments on my blog posts but I rarely comment at other blogs. I guess it's an extension of my being an introvert. That's no excuse, though!

    Daphne, don't feel guilty! You have a great excuse :-)

    KK, same here. It took me a while to get used to it but now I like Feedly better than Google Reader.

    Muffie, so true. I can't imagine the feeling of isolation I would have without the internet.