Sunday, April 27, 2008

Feed Reader My Enemy, Feed Reader My Friend

So, I was poking around all the feeds I subscribe to on Bloglines today. But this is not a post about Bloglines, it is a post about unfounded guilt. This morning my 109 feeds had gathered an impressive (but not an all time high of behindness for me) 423 posts by my blogging friends and a bunch of bloggers who don't know me from a hole in the ground.

I get behind, you know. During the week and much of weekend I like to do...stuff. I work, I clean, I run errands, I play with the dog, I pet the cat, I sleep, I eat, I go for walks, I shop, I request ARCs of books I don't have time to read, I dig skeletons out of my internet closet, I watch TV, I peruse periodicals, and on occasion I actually even read books. For some reason that is far beyond me, doing all this stuff doesn't seem to allow me to keep up with a mere (?) 109 feeds. I love my feedreader - everything everybody's writing right there all in one place for me to see at my convenience (or when the guilt of neglecting it begins to overwhelm me), but when I wake up in the morning to 423 posts from a week or two of choosing reading a book (or choosing any of the above listed activities) over reading a blog, something just has to give.

Now that I'm thinking about it, the same obsessive character trait that caused me to accumulate this massive book collection of mine and yet continues to press me onward to accumulate yet more books which I have no space and essentially no time for is the same trait that causes me to overwhelm myself with RSS feeds. I guess if there's anything good out there, anything worth reading, be it on a blog, in a magazine, or in a book - I want to read it...I want to have read it.

But alas, there comes a day in everyone's life when you have to admit defeat (if only a small and momentary one) - when you have to throw out some magazines unread, when you have to comb through those book piles and determine which ones you're really going to read and which ones are just taking up space and encouraging the fanciful thought that you may be able to get to reading all these books in your lifetime while continuing to accumulate them at an unfathomable rate, and when you have to mark all those feeds as read and start anew. The former two I've yet to concede defeat to, but the latter has been done today. So, to all of you people who probably don't even know that I'm reading your blog - accept my sincere guilt and apologies for missing many of your thoughtful posts. I'll do better this week, I promise - but in a few weeks, I'll probably do this again. But I'm trying. And I want to read every excellent looking blog I come across. And I'll probably contintue to overwhelm myself by feeding even more blogs because I just wouldn't be me if I didn't. Being in over my head is as much a part of me as say, my right foot. Because I can't help but believe that if I'm all caught up with everything then it stands to reason that I must not be doing quite enough. Less isn't more, more is more........right?


  1. I've been paring down my own feeds lately and adding new. I do this from time to time, keeping the people who know I'm alive and chucking the others...

  2. Well you are someone have in my reader who doesn't know me from a hole in the ground. :)

    But I so related to this post, I had to click through! I just gave away a bunch of unread magazines this weekend and thought "now I'm going to keep on top of it!" but I have a much much harder time doing that with books. I usually unsubscribe to a feed if I find that I'm not reading it regularly with anticipation. Good luck!

  3. Found you through Weekly Geeks and am glad I did. I know what you mean, I use Bloglines as well and sometimes get overwhelmed. That said, I just added your blog to my list, lol! Hard to weed out any reading material as I never know when it might strike my fancy. Good luck:)

  4. I think there's some magic trick to managing feed readers. I actually had a friend ask the other day to recommend blogs she's like because she doesn't have enough in her google reader. Seems she RUNS OUT of things to read. How??? For people like us, I believe that TBR piles and overcrowded feed readers are related. We have some need to prepare for famine. This might also explain the extra fat I carry around on my tummy. It's like a calorie TBR pile or something.

    I hope Susan knows I know she's alive.

  5. I have the same problem. I prune my feeds list, but then turn around and I'm back up to 300. It's kind of frustrating. I want to read them all, but I don't have the time.

    (PS - I found your blog through "Weekly Geeks" and you're one of the five I'm listing on my blog.)

  6. Ditch the guilt! We all have to that sometimes...

    But I do love Dewey's take on it! Think that might be a philosophy worth adopting.

  7. I used to cry as a little kid because I knew I wouldn't ever be able to read everything I wanted to read. . . and still, to this day, very rarely reread books or watch movies twice just for that reason. So I can relate - and I need to trim down my list, too.

  8. I just joined the blogging community, and as I come across interesting blogs, I just HAVE to add them to my reader. It is already difficult to keep up with, but so much fun! I've enjoyed looking at your blog--I'm listing it on my Weekly Geeks blog!

  9. I can't even tell you how much I relate to this post! That's the most overwhelming feeling when you leave your feed for a few days and come back and see that dreaded 3 digit number, lol. As for going through the giant TBR pile and tossing aside the ones that won't be read, I haven't been able to do that yet...I just can't justify getting rid of any of them even if they have been there for 5 years :p It really is time TBR pile is over 200 books now and requires its own bookshelf.

  10. I'm right there with you, Megan. Unfortunately it's my book reading that seems to have suffered more in recent rings as I try to stay on top of the blogs. My husband wisely reminded me that the entire reason I blog and enjoy visiting other blogs is because of my love for reading. So, I think people are just going to have to hear less from me. I want to read my books.

  11. I don't subscribe to any feeds. I'd never get anything else done! I'm popping up (late!) from the first week's challenge of the Weekly Geek. :)

  12. I know what you mean. At some point you just have to do something with all those books/magazines etc. piling up, just waiting for your attention... But as Dewey says, we're just stockpiling in case of text famine.

  13. Wow, I thought I was the only one who got overwhelmed by my Google Reader. It's nice to know I'm not alone. :-)

  14. I have the same issue with my reader. It's worse, though, because I also use my reader to keep up with the news. In English, French, and Russian. And then all the foreign service blogs where I lurk, wishing that I was moving to *insert awesome country here.*

    I think I'm going to have go through and 'weed out' some of the book blogs. We'll see....

  15. Right now I'm sailing to Darwin (with very little work left to do), which is taking us 6 days and I'm a little overwhelmed by the amount of time I have to read and check out everyones blogs! So my reader is getting full of feeds from blogs that I have the time to read right now, but woe betide when I get home and actually have to do some work...that's gonna hurt!

  16. Susan, it's definitely added incentive to keep up with feeds when there's actual communication with the people you're reading - some people I really miss when I can't grab enough computer time to keep up with them!

    Amy, hey, I know you. I'd know you better if I kept up with my feed reader, because...uh, you're definitely in there. Weeding through the book and magazine piles is pretty painful - I try to do it as infrequently as possible.

    amateurdelivre, just when I'm getting my head above water with the feed reader along come the weekly geeks just begging to be added. Ah, the irony of it all. Thanks for stopping by!

    Dewey - she runs out of things to read? That's...that's just insane! I'm wholeheartedly in agreement with your assessment of why people like us always have a bit too much on hand to read! ;-D

    redhead, thanks for stopping by! I'm sure if there were about 6 more hours in every day I could accomplish almost as much reading of blog, books, and magazines as I want to. Of course, my eyes would probably shrivel up and dry out which would open up a whole new set of problems...hmmm.

    Debi - Okay. I will be guilt free as of right now. *looks around* Did that work? ;-)

    Andi - Is it as acceptable to cry about not being able to read everything you want to read when you're a grown up? Cuz sometimes I want to.... ;-)

    Laura - thanks for stopping by! I went pretty crazy adding people to my feed reader when I first started blogging, then slowed down for a while when it got crazy, and now I want to go all crazy again what with all the new bloggers I've discovered this week. Glad you're having fun so far! =)

    Chris, paring down the TBR pile is definitely a struggle. The only thing that made it doable for me when I did do it was that my reading tastes underwent some major changes between high school and the end of college so some of the stuff just wasn't for me any more. If I tried to do it again now, I don't know if I even could!

    LF - yeah, it's always a bummer when I realize my actual reading is suffering because I'm spending so much time on blog reading. When I choose books over blogs, that's when I find myself frightened by my feed reader but hey, books are the reason I'm doing this in the first place so I can't very well feel bad about choosing them first! So, I totally see where you're coming from!

    Maree, no feeds? Oh my. For the longest time I didn't do feeds either and then I started and now I think I'd feel a little empty without my feed reader even if it does drive me up a wall on occasion! Thanks for stopping by!

    Melanie, those scary magazine piles are up next for weeding out. Though it pains me, when the stress of having too many to handle outweighs the enjoyment gained from reading them it's time to take some action, I suppose. Though I do love Dewey's rationale - what a perfect excuse to *not* get rid of any of the stuff that's kind of painful to get rid of! ;-) Thanks for stopping by!

    Em, from the looks of all the comments to this post you are definitely, definitely not alone. Together we can all face the frightening convenience that is the feed reader! ;-D

    Eva - agh! News in the feed reader, too! Madness! Most of my overburdening with news comes from the stack of weekly magazines I've unwittingly come to subscribe to which are roughly as or more overwhelming than the old feed reader but with which I am loathe to part. *sigh*

    Mariel - Hey, that makes me think that maybe where I went wrong in all this was in getting a job. Now, if I didn't have to work for a living, which I wasn't when I started this whole book blogging experiment, I'd have plenty of time to keep up with my feeds, and my books, and my magazines. Yes, I think it's definitely this employment garbage that's throwing a wrench into all my plans. And here I thought it was the feed reader's fault. Wrong-o! LOL! ;-)

  17. Ahh I think my dream job would be getting paid to do exactly that!!


  18. I so have this issue! I keep discovering all these wonderful book blogs and I just "have" to add them to my Google Reader. Sigh...