Tuesday, September 29, 2009

To Add or Not to Add: That is the Question

The current topic over at Kim's Blog Improvement Project is about how to keep our feeds and readers under control. I have no answers. Mine's extremely out of control. The only way to maintain any sort of handle on it is to use folders like crazy.

But, this sparked another question in my mind, one that I've been pondering since BBAW a few weeks ago when many of our readers exploded, and our "add subscription" buttons went spastic.

What I'm wondering is, what makes you decide to add a blog to your reader? Do you feel like adding every new blog you come across? Do you have some sort of mental check list you use before a blog "passes" the test to get added?

I find that I make a snap judgement on the new blogs I come across, which sort of freaks me out. (And I wonder if my own blog would pass my own snap judgement, you know? Or I wonder if I'm leaving out some really cool blogs.) So, for me, a lot of it is a gut feeling that I get as soon as I click onto a blog about whether or not we would have a chance of any sort of connection.

That being said, there are some things I quickly look for, and for the most part, they are things that can be discovered with a pretty quick glance at a blog. They are:

- a good mix between reviews, personal posts, discussion posts, and posts on the blogger's other interests

- a fun approachable voice (someone who isn't intimidating or puts on a "know it all" sort of vibe)

- clean, uncluttered looking, yet not blank and boring either. Colorful, but not busy.

- pictures, but not too many... a good mix between graphics and text

- a font big enough to read and a color that's easy on the eyes

- the possibility to have similar tastes so we lots to discuss ... AND the possibility to have plenty of differences so we can learn from each other

All blogs that I add to my reader, unless I'm totally sure about them, go into a "trial run" folder, where I'll give myself some time to read them, and see if I find myself coming back and back and back for more, before I add them to a more permanent folder. If I start to comment, and they actually comment back... that's a huge plus for getting assigned a permanent folder! It simply lets me know that a blogger wants to interact, and knows I'm there.

So what about you? Do you decide in a split second whether or not to hit that add button? What goes into that decision? Do you feel it's very arbitrary and a decision made way too fast? How many blogs do you allow yourself to add?

Yes, it's something to ponder, isn't it, this reader/feed/blog reading stress we've created for ourselves!


  1. I have to admit that I am getting more fussy about which blogs get added to my reader. I used to make snap decisions, but now a blog has to really tempt me. I have to visit it several times and ensure it is interesting to me over a few weeks, not just a one off great post.

    I have a real feed reader problem at the moment, so am actually trying to reduce the number I have. It is proving a very difficult thing to do - there are just too many great blogs out there!

  2. Honestly, I don't know that I'm at all consistent about it!

    The problem I have, though, is that I have sooooo many new posts any given morning, that it's hard to make myself really read all of them! I end up skimming a LOT, especially long posts, and I don't click through and comment nearly as often as I should!

    As a result, I'm kind of hesitant to put new blogs in!

  3. I am so up and down in my criteria. But, I think the one big thing I've noticed is I don't add the blogs that have really bad grammar or a lot of spelling errors. Also, I'm not usually a fan of the cluttered formats either. I have really got to whittle my reader down. I usually skim most of the new posts too.

  4. I pay more attention to content than look, since I read posts through Reader. When I happen upon a blog, I take a look and see what their content is like. If they post a lot of memes, I won't add them. If it's mostly reviews, I check to see if they are the sorts of books I'd be interested in hearing about. If they primarily read historical romance, I'm not going to be interested.

    The criteria's a little different when they're a regular commender on my blog. If I see someone commenting a lot, I tend to go out to their blog and try to comment there. If this keeps happening, I will eventually add their blog to my reader, in a folder that's like your trial one.

    Periodically, I weed out. There have been some blogs that I loved but that slowly disentegrated. I have one in mind that used to post about a lot of books I liked, but now mostly post about other people's contests and promotional material. I dropped that blog.

    I also tend to drop anyone with a partial feed. I read my posts in reader, so if I can't read it all the way, the posts are not likely to capture my interest in the first paragraph. Hence, I won't go out to comment. I find partial feeds extremely annoying. I also will not visit blogs that only comment on my blog in order to promote their own. That really irritates me.

    Okay, have I hijacked your comment section long enough now?? :)

  5. I can't really generalize - I like a lot of different blogs, but it's probably the voice of the blogger that really draws me in. I'm generally drawn to positive people.
    By the way, many thanks for your kind comment on my BBAW post!

  6. I try to choose blogs that I really enjoy and want to return too. They usually have reviews that are well written and for books i will enjoy. They are current and fun to visit.

    I try to watch my reader and keep it clean and current with blogs I really wish to follow.

  7. I have a kind of "trial" folder, too. If a blog looks interesting to me, with similar taste in books, I add it there and then after a while evaluate how much I'm enjoying reading that blog. Have I stopped by to comment? Have I added any books to my TBR due to their reviews? Have I really enjoyed the writing? eventually I decide whether to move it into a permanent folder or quietly move on to find more blogs. It's just about finding the right fit.

  8. Really good questions -- I think what you're asking is sort of implied in some of what I was trying to do with the BIP task this week.

    I just implemented a "new blogs" folder in my reader where new blogs go for a trial run (like yours). I've been making an effort to comment on them and pay attention to all posts so I can see if I like the blog or not.

    As for snap judgements -- I look for an About Page and a Review Archive of some kind so I can get a feel for the blogger. Without one or both of those, I won't subscribe. And I scan the first page of posts to see what the mix is -- too many memes or challenge posts and I don't usually subscribe either.

    That said, if there's a blogger who comments on my blog a lot, I'll usually subscribe to their blog and try to also comment. I've found a lot of good blogs that way too.

    Anyway, really good questions. I hope BIP people will head over here and comment too!

  9. Your criteria are pretty close to mine. I've found there's one thing that really, really turns me off -- clutter, especially if it includes lots and lots of advertisements or advertising links. Sometimes I'll add a blog to my reader but then I'll go back and the blog is suddenly heavy in ads. That's an auto-delete for me. Lots of flashing things bug me, too. But, otherwise, I'm looking for interesting reviews, approachable writing, a format that doesn't overwhelm me, a good mix of reviews and miscellaneous -- blogs that are *too* heavy on drawings annoy me, so I'm trying not to let my own blog get too drawing-crazy.

    I like photographs and I like to laugh. Funny people go on my reader faster than anyone. And, I love a blogger who actually replies to my comments. I visit those who reply more often than most.

  10. Suey, you have some good questions and make some good points.

    I curious - what reader do you use. I used to use Sage and I loved it but then it was discontinued. Then I relied on my blog list but when I just recently changed my template I lost that. I was thinking I'd just refer to my dashboard in blogger but I don't think I can use folders. Hope you can help.

  11. Booklogged: I use Google Reader, and I have no idea how I would keep track of blog reading without it. I have no experience with any other readers though, so maybe someone knows of one that's even better.

  12. I look for blogs that read books that I'm interested in reading about. Or that have interesting insights into books and blogging. I added a ton during BBAW and I realize now it is too much because I have been unable to keep up.

  13. Great post! It made me think about why I add blogs...and honestly...there is no rhyme or reason because I am not someone who only uses a reader. There are so many ways I find blogs and I may read a blog for ages before I realize I am not subscribed (because I usually read it following links from other blogs or twitter, or because they always comment on my blog and so I comment on theirs).

  14. First I add everyone who comments on mine. Then after that it's pretty much your criteria. When I add them I don't put them in a folder, so all the uncategorized are on a sort of probation for me. I do delete, immediately, everyone that is a partial feed, even if you could be my soul sister. BYE. (I have about 6 partial feeds that I read, that hooked me before I knew better.)

    Also, and perhaps you can tell by my comments today? I have SO MANY blogs in my reader that I tend to let people build up to 4 or 8 or a dozen or more posts and then read one blog all at once. I like that it keeps me focused on what blogger I'm reading instead of swapping between people. Of course, I often get to comment on 2 week old posts or miss a lot of contests this way. It also makes scrolling through memes a lot faster.



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