Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Weight of Unread Posts

I just spent a few hours and now my Google Reader lists zero unread posts instead of 1000+. I will not claim I read all closely; it was an exercise in skimming, and in some, such as TechCrunch, blantant marking all as read.

I wonder why I feel so much lighter now that there are no longer 1000+ posts waiting for me to read them. After all, it is MY blog roll. No one is forcing me to read them. And if the weight of the unread ones is pulling me down, why don't I delete them?

I probably do need to prune my blog roll, and occasionally I do lop a few off that no longer speak to me. However, I find I am still adding. Most of what I add are not edublogs. My blog roll now better reflects some of my hobbies and interests outside of education and technology. I'm also reading more news sites via RSS now that I let my newspaper subscription lapse.

The same is true of my podcast subscriptions. I'm spending less time listening to educational ones, and more time on my hobbies, news, science, and audio books.

Part of me really misses being as in-the-know as I used to be when I read lots of edublogs. I loved being part of the discussions. I didn't always have anything to add to it, but it let me see ideas evolve over time in the community. It let me be an early adopter of new technologies and that has served me well, making me comfortable with them before I need to be using them on the job, and letting me "see" where things were going.

It also saved me a lots of headache. For example, reading someone's post about what did and didn't go well with their class Voicethread project allowed me to avoid the pitfalls and build on the strengths. It gave me answers to my questions and to ones I hadn't yet anticipated.

Another part I miss is the substance. Facebook has been great for catching up with distant friends. Twitter is amazingly good at just-in-time answers. But neither has the depth of extended thinking. Neither makes me think in the ways a good blog post does. Neither informs my practice nor challenges me out of complacency.

I do notice that many prolific bloggers are blogging less. I don't think that means the blog will die any time soon. I hope it means that posts will be more thoughtful. I'd much rather read one good post a month from someone than having my feed reader filled up with posts that are nothing more than lists of the sites they added to Delicious.

I'm seeing I do value edublogs. I appreciate what they add to my life and my work. I guess what I really need to learn is to not let the unread ones get me down.

How has your blog roll or blog reading habits changed in the past year?