How I Made My Online Diet Healthier in February

27 Feb 2012

Heirloom Tomatoes

As I mentioned in last month's report, I've spent February thinking about the health of my online information diet as it relates to blogs. I do think we're spinning into a big evolution in how we consume blogs, so I tried this month to pay close attention to how I respond to the blogs I read.

Here are some things that emerged…

Crystal Clear Water
Image by mynameisharsha, via Flickr

Getting Clear About What's Nourishing

I visit my Google Reader once a day, usually first thing in the morning. At the start of this year, I was subscribed to about 150 blogs. As of today, that number is down to 70. It's still a little much for me to really keep up with, but already reducing the number has taken huge stress off me.

What's interesting is, I still look at more blogs than this each day, because I follow random links that show up via Twitter. And because I'm doing this, I realized that my RSS reader should now be reflecting only those blogs I really, truly want to keep up on week after week.

I made a practice this month of watching myself as I ranged through my feed reader. Which blogs did I click on immediately every time there was a new post? Which ones did I put off reading? Which ones did I find myself actively avoiding?

Slowly, I started letting myself off the "keeping up hook" for a couple blogs each day.

Image by Suzanne Hamilton, via Flickr

The Guilt! Oh, Lordy, the Guilt!

It's not easy, unsubscribing from blogs – especially when the blogger is someone I know and like/love/esteem. Somewhere in the past five years, we seem to have added a new social expectation into our lexicon of social expectations – if we're friends, then I have to keep up on your blog, and your Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

I'm beginning to question this idea. I know people who are fascinating conversationalists on Twitter, but who, if I'm being honest, don't write blogs I find very interesting. I know people who write beautiful, inspiring blogs, but when they're on Twitter or Google+, feel somewhat less compelling to me.

All these tools require different communication skills! And very few of us will be good at all of them. Not only that, each of us has a very specific way of listening. So your blog may not grab me, but it'll be a must-read for someone else.

What I want to do is hone down all of the places where I'm social online, so that in any particular space, I'm interacting only with those folks who I find really interesting in that space.

I worry that we get so caught up in the "follower numbers," we forget to let each other create our best individual online spaces. I think I'll expand on this idea in next month's report, in fact.

Gorgeous Artichokes

Allowing for Changes of Interest

I also realized this month that there are wonderful blogs in my RSS reader that have delivered consistently good content over years, but my interest in the subject matter has changed. I'm slowly letting myself off the hook with these blogs, too, although this also feels guilt-inducing. Shouldn't a great blogger be rewarded with my attention? Theoretically, perhaps. But realistically, I only have so much time and attention. The minute I let blog-reading feel like a chore is the minute I stop being a good reader for everyone.

So I really need to let it be okay that I drift from blog to blog as my interests change. We're creative people, after all, and we're prone to new obsessions. Our blog-reading should be allowed to reflect this. I'm trying to remind myself that I can return to an old favorite blog at any time, and it doesn't have to sit, unread, in my feed reader until that moment.


Image by, via Flickr

Frequency of Posting… it's Changing

Interestingly, the subject of "How often should we be blogging?" has come up in both of the blogging classes I taught this month. And the discussion in both classes points to an answer that's different from the one we were using a few years ago.

Back when blogging was new, it used to be the norm to blog almost every day. After all, you needed to stay on your readers' radar and all that. But now… all of our radars are clogged up with information. Getting on people's radar is now an infinitely more subtle thing, and I think it has more to do with quality than quantity.

Architectural Leeks

I noticed this month in my RSS reader that, when a blog I was subscribing to was posting frequently, those unread posts really stacked up, and consequently I was more likely to avoid reading the blog for longer periods. I also noticed that, by and large, those frequent-post blogs often seemed to contain what felt to me like a percentage of "filler" posts.

I noticed that I follow quite a few blogs that post less than once per week, but those posts are always amazing, so I always read them, eagerly.

Just Playing Around...
Image by ~fb~, via Flickr

My New Rules Aren't Everyone's New Rules!

Here's what I think is really important about all this… it's just my method for coping with reading blogs. This doesn't constitute anything you should be doing. I think that when blogging was new, we all tried to evolve a set of universal rules for how we should be reading and writing them. But honestly, the information landscape is so vast and crowded at this point, we all have to negotiate this stuff for ourselves.

I will say, after my month of watching and letting go, I'm feeling so much more excitement about my RSS reader again. For such a long time it's felt like a burden I'll never master. Now it's starting to feel more like what it was designed to be in the first place: a tool for inspiration and learning.

Patty Pan Squash

What do you think?

Have you been changing the way you read blogs lately? What changes are you making?

And thank you, as always, for witnessing my little project!


I understand about adapting to social media/blogging overwhelm by writing and reading short blog posts, but I also think that this blog post is a testament to the fact that some people are looking for more depth, more thoughtfulness, and don't mind the length of this post. Look at the vibrant discussion flowing here!

I wanted to offer another idea around the topic of guilt and keeping up... What IS it about online content that so easily makes us feel that way? Compare with walking past your bookcase, or a stack of magazines, they don't seem to give us that stressed out feeling of guilty obligation that "unread" items on the web do? Instead they seem full of promise?

Perhaps it's the fact that online content is presented in a linear form? Presenting the newest article at the top, and the rest of the content in descending order? And we feel like we have to plough through every single thing? Compare with a paper newspaper, where you really don't feel guilty about flicking past the content that doesn't appeal to you?

Then I had another idea. Maybe it's got to do with the idea of "investing time", and that if we do that, we expect some kind of "payoff". Because what we do, surely got to be worth our time? So for example, if I feel that my Facebook experience isn't working for me, despite having spent years there, it's easy to feel that it's my fault. Because I haven't put enough of an effort into it or followed the right formula, or contributed enough? I should put more time into it? Again guilt. And: how can I quit or restructure something that I've put so much work into? Would it be admitting that all that work, was a mistake, time down the drain? Sometimes the solution might be to put less time into something or even to let go of parts of our online lives to make space for something new?

I think that's really perceptive, Kate - I do think that that stack of books/magazines doesn't represent the same guilt because of the participatory nature of online media. Every unread blog post in my reader is the work of someone I know or admire, and by not keeping up, I'm not "doing my part."

With print media, too, there's a periodicity: magazines only come out once a month or once a quarter, and they contain a finite amount of content that always stays in the same place. Online media comes out all day, every day. We've all grown up being accustomed to "keeping up" on finite amounts of print and broadcast media, so it was natural that we approached online this way, too. Until we started realizing that keeping up is totally impossible. :-)

I suspect there might even be a third, more hidden factor: when we buy a print magazine, even if we let it sit around for a while before reading it, we've paid for the privilege of doing that. All the people who participated in making the magazine have been compensated, so the pressure is less. But when a blogger blogs as an act of sharing for us, that's a whole different emotional bargain.

And also, wrapping back to what you said about investing time, isn't it interesting how, in what are still the early days of social media, we've tended to think of every new tool as a "must use?" I think Google+ represents the first new tool that I haven't seen people flock to because you "should" be there. I think it's that old-media "keeping up" mentality at work again. Perhaps several years down the road, we'll pick up and set aside social media tools without guilt.

Thank you, Heidi! Wow, that CRAFT era was almost a whole year ago now. I sure missed this space during that time!

Very interesting read!

I've found great relief in the discovery of Flipboard. A free app for the iPhone and iPad that turns noise into signal. Add everything that interests you in one place, your favorite websites, RSS feed, blogs and social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and watch how Flipboard transforms your favorite reads into a minimalist, slick magazine. Your Flipboard.

To get going with Flipboard, first remove all of the included reads that you aren't interested in. Then add your own. Flipboard gets smarter the more you use it so it will feature reads that you have liked in the past.

What was interesting for me personally, was that this was a great way for me to see which blogs and websites still were relevant for me. The truth is that I only kept a handful! Because of Flipboard's visual nature, (imagine all your favourite reads laid out beautifully, kind of like Pinterest, but friendly for reading) it was much easier for me to SEE what I felt I had outgrown. For me it became a fresh start, it renewed my interest in web browsing at the same time as it made it more focused, less distracted! I strongly recommend it!

Thanks for this, Kate! K. uses Flipboard for his Twitter feed and loves it, too. I never thought of it as a blog-reading tool for some reason! It's interesting to hear how it's changed your blog-reading experience.

I forgot the link! Here it is:

Yay! I'm glad we're still talking about this. Mostly, because I feel badly that so many people are feeling guilt and avoidance when it comes to reading blogs instead of relaxation and inspiration.

We do not consumer all magazines, books, and music the same, so why blogs? Some we read/listen to because our friends wrote them, so we love them inherently. Some we read because they are our interests. Some are for work/education. And some are occasional perusals to just keep our eye on something. We need to allow ourself to consume different blogs differently, too.

And even if we're great friends with 70 people, we need to allow ourselves to live the life with the people in our house and neighborhoods in a deep meaningful way, and not try to keep up with every detail of every friend every day.

I know I keep beating the same drum, but as a lover of both people and information, I know as much as anyone how unbalanced it can get!

I love following your journey here.

This is beautifully-said, Elizabeth - thank you!

This is a great discussion!
A friend of mine expresses her perspective well - she calls our time and energy our "life currency"... and we "spend" that to get "free" stuff like info on blogs, etc.
I like her angle - we invest something in everything we bring into our experience, whether or not it also has a price tag in regular currency. ... this understanding has helped me make better decisions about what I choose to accumulate (or not!) - since everything we collect - whether it's fabric, plastic canvas, or blog posts - requires some kind of maintenance. And I really don't want to maintain too much stuff - I would rather create new stuff! ;-)

Isn't it funny, the web of social obligations we've kind of pasted onto social media? I think it's because none of us could see early on just how overwhelming things would become as everyone started getting online.

I love your special card idea! But I think you're right - the vast majority of people will never notice whether we're following their online streams or not. I think that, once we all whittle down to that subset of blogs/social media streams that are relevant to our interests right now, then it'll be more important than ever to step up and leave comments and replies - after all, participation will be an important indicator that we're paying attention.

That's an interesting take, Elly - I hadn't thought about how reading bigger chunks of a blog all at once might give you a better picture of whether a blog is consistently interesting to you. Definitely, I could see that working!

Heh! Good Luck, Stephanie! I like what you said: "None of which is their fault. It's all me." YES. I worry that bloggers will see fewer subscribers as an indication that their blogs aren't good. It's not that! It's kind of like any economic bubble correcting itself. None of us can keep up with everything.

I so agree, Debbie - and you bring up a great point: each of us gets to decide WHY we're reading blogs, tailor our reading to that.

That's an interesting question, Jennifer... I wonder if we really can teach anyone to be judicious about online content until they've passed through a period of overwhelm. It's all so great, and it's all free - so it's very natural to want to grab as much as possible at first.

Interestingly, I used to think, "Who would ever want to get blog posts in their email?" But then I kept getting emails from people requesting that feature. When I added it, I was shocked at how many people signed right up. Apparently, you have many compatriots, Natalie!

I too have been altering the way I consume blogs. I'm now ok with letting unread posts build up. (shock-gasp-horror!)
I'll pick out the must-reads, and let the others build up. Then, when I have time, I will have a binge read on the blogs I've let alone - this also helps to get a feel of new-to me-blogs, when I can get read 5 or so posts all in one go, it helps me see if this is a blog that consistently posts content that grabs me.
Conversely, if a blog has many posts in a row that don't grab me, I let it go - if it's something that I will return to, it will come across my radar again, it won't be lost forever.

i've enjoyed your posts about online content consumption. i think i've always been judicious about what i look at in terms of want vs. need, but i'm enjoying reading about your journey.

i'm especially enjoying this in context of teaching and learning-- how am i going to convince my students to be judicious consumers of online content?

You know, in six years of blog reading (and writing) I have never used an RSS reader.
I subscribe to blogs by email because it it so convenient, just drops into my inbox whenever there is a post. No guilty, not-keeping-up feeling which works for me. I've used various blog platforms, typepad and mostly, and I always make sure there is a "subscribe by email" option sitting there in the sidebar for anyone like me.

Your concept of changing taste struck a chord too. To begin with I mostly read knitting blogs, but now I read knitting, architecture, small house, design and letter writing/correspondence/stationery blogs which perhaps means that these are a better representation of my interests rather than my working life.

I go through phases in my blog-reading, too. A little over a year ago I got active on Twitter again and it was the first time I’d been introduced to all the crafty ladies on Twitter, and crafty blogs. I’ve been reading blogs for 10+ years, blogging almost as long, and have had an Etsy shop for going on 4 years now . . . but this whole new Twitter/blogging world in relation to craft/handmade business just opened up to me and I was pretty excited. It quickly became overwhelming, though.

I’ve since gone through a few stages of feeling the need to pull back and get rid of many of the Twitter accounts and blogs I follow so that I have time for more meaningful interaction when I’m online. I felt a lot of guilt over that. Through giveaways I participated in and through a popular tumblr I’m affiliated with, I’ve ended up with hundreds of Twitter followers I don’t know at all. At first I tried to keep up with them but it wasn’t possible and I finally went through those conversations with myself where I gave myself permission to let them go. I’ve participated in a couple giveaways since and asked that there not be extra entries given for following ME. I just don’t want that guilt of not following people back.

I’ve also come to the realization that I want to use my Twitter and blog as my platforms to talk about anything – not just crafts/handmade. I do follow Twitters and blogs that focus specifically on one type of thing, but I have more of a relationship with the bloggers or crafters who show me other parts of their lives and interests and thoughts.

Probably the biggest dose of guilt I’ve felt – and still struggle with – is something you wrote about. Unfollowing a blog or Twitter or ____ of someone I still hold in high regard. Just as you said, sometimes I prefer how they come across on one platform more than another . . . or sometimes I’ve just outgrown what they publish, or am not interested in it anymore. I feel as though I want to send a special card to everyone I’ve unfollowed, that says, “I still like you, promise! I’m just looking for something a little deeper right now and I need to spend my online time where it counts most (for me). I hope the next time we run into each other online or in person, you will be as happy to see me as I will be to see you. xo, puppies and unicorns, glitter and ribbons forever”

One thing that helped me let myself off the hook was realizing that many of the people I wanted to unfollow have, like, a BAZILLION followers (and some don’t even follow ME so what the heck am I feeling guilty over?!). I don’t think they’ll notice if I’m gone. Oh, and I also went through the Twitter accounts I follow and checked to see who was actually following me. There were several people I wanted to unfollow who had already unfollowed me, or maybe they never followed me in the first place. THE NERVE!! ;) So I had a little hissy fit for about 3 seconds (I have been feeling guilty all this time and you don’t even FOLLOW ME?!) and then reminded myself that this was GOOD because now I could unfollow without guilt.

I love the wording of that hypothetical card :-)

I've been removing a few blogs from my reader too. I hate seeing lots of unread posts but I didn't want to commit the time to read 50 blog posts a day. And I wasn't really reading them anyway - I was clicking through and skimming down to see if anything really caught my eye and then clicking through to the next one, just so they didn't pile up. Since the reason I read blogs is to enjoy the people who write them and to make connections with cool quilters by leaving comments and appreciating their work, the clicking through wasn't accomplishing what I wanted it to. Hopefully, less quantity will give me more quality.

a very timely post for me and I agree wholeheartedly - I found that I consistantly had over 1,000 unread posts in my reader and was overwhelmed to the point that I found I was avoiding it - and what's the point of that? I too, have spent the last few weeks filtering out blogs that just don't draw me in anymore. They tend to range from those that seem to post far too often to those that have simply lost their appeal to me - non of which is their fault, it's all me of course!

When I first discovered the joys of RSS feed, I went a bit 'subscribe happy' based mostly on one post that i liked - I am now a little more selective - I'll find a post through a link i love, but will always root around the rest of the blog to see if it's 'a keeper'.

As of today, I still seem to have over 1,000 unread posts, and thats after I have deleted a small army of bloggers, so I still have some way to go - wish me luck!

Oh man. I have been thinking about this SO much lately. Blogging and reading blogs...and the navel gazing - what does it all mean.

Anywhoo - I will be the FIRST one to admit that as a "voice", I suck at Google+ and Twitter. Blogging I plug along because I love it. Some posts I'm proud of, some, eh. However, Facebook. Man I've got a lock down there. And people think I'm hilarious. My posting on Facebook (during my time off of blogging) actually has influenced some new features of my blog. I started my blog as a niche "craft" blog - now I think it is much better described as a memoir/lifestyle blog - crafting, cooking, etc.

But because of how people responded on FB, I'm now blogging much more about music and dance. Two things that are HUGE in my life, but that I never blogged about because I was limited my writing to fit a niche. Now I don't care. My blog is mine. I don't care who follows it, who reads it, I'm not doing it as a business, it is for ME. If people like it YAYYYYY - join the party! If not - hey, read one of the bajillion other blogs out there!

As far as consuming - as mentioned...yeah, I don't really use my Twitter/Google+ account. I really like the format of Google+ and I wish that it would catch on a little bit, but for now I still see FB as king. On the daily - I'm pretty much only checking my RSS and my FB newsfeed.

And cutting down blogs? Yeah I've done that too - and yeah it's HARD, but oh boy, I agree, it's filling.

(^Not entirely eloquent, but I had to comment post haste. I'm on my third cup of coffee - got the mega sleepies)

Thank you, Stephanie! I love hearing how many of us are following this path right now.

...And I think that the internet age gives us all room to be more eccentric - for which, YAY!!

Everyone's comments make so much sense, and you can see the 'trail' slowly changing course when it comes to reading time for blogs. About 3 months after I found blogs and began reading them, I started to naturally move out of that course. I think, subconsciously, I was studying each blog, looking at how they posted, and slowly putting my blog together mentally. I started my blog for me. Then I tried to gear it different. Now I've circled back to do it for me. The guilt I feel is the time not posting, but if I don't feel the project is worthy, I won't post it. I don't have many readers, but that's okay. I post for me, stopping into about five blogs just to see what they've been up to. My tastes have changed. I'm eccentric and don't care. If it doesn't hold my attention, I'm gone. Half the time when I'm reading someone's blog, my mind is travelling somewhere else, so I lose focus. From what I'm reading here, this sounds like a natural revolution/evolution. Personally, I believe this trend makes us better people.

Diane, you always write such eloquent on target posts. Everything you have done in February is what I have done as well. It was so relieving to feel like I could actually interact with the blogs I really had an interest in. I am finding my niche and the other bloggers who share my same interest, it makes it so more enjoyable than burdensome like I felt with all the subscriptions I felt i had to read. Great job once again!

A few months ago, I culled my reader of a huge number of feeds I never looked at, and re-organized the rest. My top five reads are in their own category, and the rest are sorted by interest (crafty, slice-of-life, entertainment, etc.) I check out the must-read category every day, and the others I tend to binge-read when I get a chance, a few times a week. It's been working well for me.

As far as the other social media goes, I feel very little stress about it, because I consider it secondary to the blog-reading. I rarely check Facebook, and Google+ hasn't really panned. Twitter is one of those things that I enjoy while I'm logged in to it, but don't worry about what I've missed when I'm not.

I like the idea of good old bookmark folders for those blogs you only want to check in with occasionally!

Post scriptum about the longer posts: after reorganizing my twitter lists and blogs, the next task is to use things like Instapaper better - not only for the interesting links I see on Twitter and don't have the time to read immediately, but also potentially for longer blog posts in my reader. Because when I read on the couch on the iPad, the concentration is better than in front of my computer!

And I should have started with it, but hey, interesting post :).

I reorganized all my blog feeds a few weeks ago, and I like the result! I have 3 main ways of following a blog now:
- in my RSS reader, I only have 56 (56!) blogs, and I don't let any unread posts piling up. I didn't even bother sorting them in files (very unusual of me), I just put the ones I want to read first on top.
- as bookmarks in my browser, as odd as it seems. I have a few files by category, and open those when I'm in the mood. Typical example: the decoration/design blogs who post several times a day. But those files also act as a pending place where I put some blogs that may end up in my reader.
- twitter. In some cases, I unsubscribed from blogs because I follow the author on twitter, and they tweet when they post something new.

So far, the system works, and I can move a blog from one category to another as needed. It's a pleasure to open my RSS reader, because there are only things I find beautiful or useful in it (yes, you may recognize Morris sentence about decluttering in that last sentence) :).

Yes! After reading these comments, and the ones on my post, I feel so . . . relieved, I guess. I feel like I can wait a bit and post things that are really meaningful to me (and, hopefully, to my readers), rather than feel like I must post a quickie "filler" post just so I can keep up with posting all the time.

Also, I remember when you took that job at Craft for a bit, and barely posted here. But when you did post, I was all over that like white on rice! Which proves, for me, that infrequent and thoughtful posts are as/more rewarding for readers.

I just asked the question "What's Your Blog-Reading Style?" at my place on the 25th -- so this is extra-exciting reading! The responses to my post were the opposite of what I expected . . . most (all, really) commenters said they get overwhelmed when they see a bunch of un-read posts in their reader -- that it's actually easier for them when a blogger posts less frequently than once a day or multiple times per day.

I totally feel stressed out when I check in on my feed and see all those big numbers. Those who post a little less frequently are the ones I usually take more time to read. This is counter-intuitive to EVERYTHING I've read about blogging (like, "You need to post at least once a day, or your blog is doomed.")

Ooh! I love your post, and the comments! Sharing a link here, for anyone who might have missed it:

I think that blogging every day was the prevailing wisdom until maybe a year ago. In a way, I'm glad we're all circling around to feeling our limitations as readers, because this way, I think we can create a lower-pressure environment as bloggers.

I follow something like 800 blogs. Many of them are tumblrs that just post photos several times a day. I know I should reduce the number of blogs I follow, but I always feel like I will miss out on something really neat.
Knit, Nicole, Knit!

I've been thinking about this since you brought it up in your first post - both as a blog reader and as a blog writer. I especially agree with your criteria for culling the blog list - I think it's a good idea to reevaluate what we're reading and why we're reading it from time to time. Like you said, if you're excited to read a new post from someone, then they're a keeper right now. But if you start to feel obligated to keep up with a certain blog, then maybe it's time to part ways. For me, the true test of a blog's importance to me is if I think about it when NOT looking at my reader - as in, "hey, I haven't read anything from so-and-so in awhile." And as a blog writer, I try not to pressure myself to write more often than I'M comfortable with - my goal is posting quality, consistent content and that does not mean everyday. Thanks for the discussion and insights on this!

Wow, Dori - you're making me realize that I used to think about the blogs I read that way all the time, and I almost never do anymore. There's always so much information crowding my field of view. It takes me weeks to notice that someone hasn't posted in a while. That's too bad!

Thanks for the insightful post and highlighting blog guilt. I have suffered from that so I wasn't unsubscribing and then was feeling overwhelmed with what was in the box. I too have started unsubscribing, but I hadn't really thought about how a blogger might feel about a drop in numbers. I wonder if I shouldn't just start sending a quick "thank you for blogging, but my interests/time/etc. has changed and I need to move on. Please don't take it personally." kind of note so that we all feel better about the change in the relationship.

I also find that bloggers who have specific categories of posts for specific days help me streamline my reading. For example I don't spin so on Tuesdays I know I can just scroll through the Tuesdays I spin posts. It makes a nice pattern for me to follow.

Another thing as a reader I struggle with are bloggers that I like but have kind of become known for long posts (with no photos!) so that when I see them in the reader my first thought is that I don't have that much time right now. I've had to unsubscribe from some because I just felt that it took too much time/concentration to read/catch-up.

Thanks again for your thoughtfulness and high quality posts. I am always happy to see a new Crafty Pod post in my reader!

I definitely think there's something to that "longer post" thing, Chppie. I've tended to put off reading long, unbroken blocks of text as well. If a post is broken up with some kind of image, it doesn't feel as long to me, but just text, I have the same reaction you do - I don't have that much time right now.

That's a nice idea about having a subject schedule for posts, and that making reading easier.

You've just inspired me to weed the excess out of my feed too. I'm happy to report that, as of right now, the relief of having a more manageable feed is far outweighing my unsubscribers guilt.

Just before you published this I had done the same thing for my rss reader. I was subscribed to WAY to many blogs, so I unsubscribed from ALL the ones that post more than once a week. I made a new bookmark folder and put those ones in it so I can check on them once in a while. I didn't feel too guilty because most of the blogs that post daily are done by a bunch of people. I still feel a little odd about it. For example, Grist posts multiple times a day and all of the posts are fairly meaty - keeping up with that - even though i want the info - is not possible.

A year ago I was keeping up with my rss, fb, and blogging myself. Then I got a rottweiler puppy. I haven't blogged since then and over time my devotion to fb has waned. I now check it for events and allow myself 15 min of scrolling through the posts. I no longer attempt to keep up with every post and I am ok with that.

Even after purging so many blogs from my rss, I am still struggling. Sure, I am not daily opening the reader and seeing 500 unread posts, but it is still too many. I haven't gotten into twitter at all or google+ much because fb and rss suck too muck time.

I would like to get back to blogging myself, but I determined that my rss reader is probably my favorite thing about my internet usage and rather than worry about blogging myself or doing more with fb I want to purge my rss feed down to a level where I can easily take the time to comment on the posts that really get me in a timely manner. (It took me ~2 weeks to finally comment here and that is too long) I also wanna be able to read the comments of others on those really good posts and that too can be a challenge, but soooo worth it.

You mentioned it above - I think all my guilty was coming from the participatory nature of the blogoshpere. Before the internet, I had about half a dozen magazine subscriptions and i NEVER felt bad if i didn't read each one cover to cover. With blogs, I feel so differently. Having blogged a little myself, I know the time and effort it takes to post something really good. Plus, and this is the thing that totally hooks me and why I LOVE blogs: you, the writer are accessible to me, the reader. I can comment - I can ask you questions, share something, become friends. This is so amazing to me and this is why my rss reader is my most favorite online tool.

Thank you Sister Diane for all you do - I have been a reader since getting my computer a couple of years ago - you are always informative, interesting, and thought provoking.

Thank you so much, Misha! I love that you've narrowed down on what you really like best about being online, and created space for that. We hear so much mythology about how we "should" be using all the tools at once, but honestly, most of us don't have the kind of time it takes to do that well. You're stepping up to reclaim your joy in the online community, and that's an awesome thing.

...And never, ever worry if it takes a while to get around to reading a post like this one, and its comments. I know these things are more time-consuming to read than other kinds of posts. I'm grateful for your time and reading anytime you have some to spare. And I know most of us don't have a lot to spare! :-)