I Read You; I Read You Not

A while back I shared my blogging process.  Today I’m going to give you a peek behind the scenes into my blog reading.  For me, the two are intrinsically tied.  Because I find “blogging” to be an experience that is as much about community and friendship as it is about self-expression, and that comes from reading/commenting as much as from writing.

So, speaking of reading, pull up a chair; this may take a while.

I am in “like” with Google Reader.

It’s been a gradual (and sometimes frustrating) learning process, but over the past couple of years I have evolved to the point that I don’t read blogs any other way after my first visit.  I’ve gotten pretty efficient, thanks to the knowledge shared by others.  I have my reader categorized into folders.  And some are even totally unrelated to healthy living!  My most recently added folders are one for “favorites” and one for “blogs to check out.”  The former is self-explanatory, I think.  The latter are blogs that I have recently discovered and have not yet decided if I will keep reading.  Sometimes I read posts directly from the reader page; sometimes I “click through” to the original post, which is necessary if I want to leave a comment.  I soooo much appreciate those of you who publish your full posts for readers; while traveling or using my tablet, this is often the only way I can read them at all.

Ti-i-i-ime is NOT on my side.

I used to read blogs starting first thing each day.  I’m a morning person:)  But then I realized that since I am most efficient early, it was better for me to dedicate that time to more “active” pursuits like writing my own posts or clearing out email.  So now I get to blog reading when I get to it.  Sometimes still pretty early in the morning.  (Particularly on days when I have no motivation or creativity to write!)  Sometimes not until much later.  Some days I save it for the “snacking hours” because when I’m on my computer I’m NOT eating!  I’m trying to apply my pragmatic personality to this little hobby of mine rather than letting it take over my life.

Words, words, everywhere, but not a drop of ink.

I admit it – sometimes I don’t read every word.  Right now there are 183 subscriptions in my reader and in the last month I read over 1300 items.  As you can imagine, that adds up to a lot of words which translates to a lot of time to read them all thoroughly.  So, over time I have learned to be selective in which posts I scan and which I really spend time on.  I usually start with my favorites.  Unless I don’t have a lot of time and want to instead really make a dent in my reader.  In which case I start with the blogs that I tend to scan most quickly and find myself commenting on least often.  Some days I just like to get rid of the clutter so I go quite quickly through the ones I know I can knock off fast.  (Like the onslaught of items I get from my teen’s college that I rarely read.)  So many words; so little time.

Here a comment; there a comment.

This is an area where I had to consciously let go of my inner perfectionist and tell myself it’s okay not to comment on every post.  So I don’t.  But I do my best to comment often and thoughtfully.  Sometimes it is a very short “woo hoo” in support of the blogger’s recent accomplishment.  But other times it is my attempt at a tactful and loving kick in the butt.  (And believe you me, I often struggle to find the balance between the two, wondering what each blogger would most appreciate.)  And often it is words of commiseration and understanding.  I like to comment.  I just don’t always have time or something valuable to say.  But for me, comments are conversation and conversations lead to connections and sometimes even to friendships – my favorite things about blogging:)  And I love the support that exists in the blogworld.  Comments make it happen.  But if it’s hard to comment on your blog because I have to sign in or use livefyre or can’t read the word/number verification or …, I won’t comment.

Reciprocity in all most things.

If you comment on my blog, I will always visit yours and I will (almost) always find something to comment about.  Just one more way that this is about community for me.  In turn, if I comment on your blog more than once and you NEVER visit or comment on mine, I may or may not keep reading.  It depends what you write.  Some blogs are worth my time even if the blogger has never reciprocated with a visit to my little corner of the blogosphere.  Some blogs though are only worth reading, IMO, if a conversation or relationship develops.  Again – too many blogs, too little time.

You say.. then I say… then you say…or not.

While I do appreciate replies to comments, they aren’t necessary for me to keep reading and I know that not everyone has the time or inclination to do that.  Some of you have little boxes at the end of a post that I can check if I want to get follow-up comments.  Unless I know that this means I’ll just get a reply from YOU, I don’t check this.  I very much like the emails I get from blogs that auto-generate replies when the blogger makes them.  (Someday I might dare to add that back to my own blog!)  If I know that you typically respond to comments, I will usually look for that the next time I’m on your blog.  When I remember.  And have time.  Every so often I might even reply to your reply!

I enjoy some blogs more than others.

I want to read your blog if I like what you say or how you write.  If I feel a connection.  If I’ve become “friends” with you.  If you motivate or inspire me.  If you make me think or give me “aha” moments or teach me about myself.  If I want to root you on and think you appreciate the support from the sidelines.  If you make me laugh, smile, feel good.

I enjoy some blogs less than others.

Some blogs are just physically harder on my eyes.  The font might be small or hard to read.  But more common are the blogs with a light-colored font on a dark background.  There have been a few that I have visited for the first time and never gone back because it was just too much strain to read.  And, to be totally honest here, there is some content that I just don’t care to read.  Or that I find uninteresting.  For a variety of reasons.  I’m sure you are the same.  If it’s occasional, I just skip that post or section.  If it’s consistent and part of the blog’s theme, I move on.

Looks don’t matter.

Other than having a hard time reading your post itself, it doesn’t matter to me if you have a beautifully custom-designed blog or something basic.  If you have a lot of clutter, I just ignore it.  If you play music, I turn it off.  I’m there for you and what you have to say, not there because your blog is pretty.  And, as with people, size doesn’t matter either.  I’m just as likely to read a post by new or “little” bloggers as I am to read posts by the “big” bloggers with huge followings.

Broadening my horizons.

Every so often, despite the huge number of blogs I already read, I look for new ones to follow.  Call me a glutton for punishment.  Or call me crazy.  I find new blogs in a variety of ways.  First and foremost, from the blogger visiting here and leaving a comment.  Some I’ve discovered when they’ve been listed as “award recipients” on another blog or because I happened to catch an interesting comment they left somewhere.  Or I may see the same name crop up on several blogs I already follow.  And, yes, now and then I might actually click on some links in another blogger’s blog roll.  If you have any suggestions of great blogs, I’d love to know.

I worry when you go missing.

The great thing about Google Reader is that I don’t have to pay any attention to how often or on what schedule you post.  When you publish a blog, up it pops.  The downside to this is that I might not always notice right away if you disappear for a while.  In the past, I have sometimes reached out to a blogger who has gone missing.  Typically by email.  But that feels rather “big brother” to me and I’m not sure everyone appreciates it, so mostly now I will only do that if I feel I know the blogger pretty well.  I’m not going to assume that an absence means something horrible, just that you might not feel like blogging.  But that doesn’t mean I won’t worry.

So, there you have it.  Another long-winded glimpse into this little corner of my life.  My blog-reading manifesto.

If I haven’t lost you off yet, I’d love to hear how YOU do it.  And what brings you back to a blog or drives you away.

And, if I’ve never visited your blog before, leave a comment below and I’ll pop on over.  Just include your URL in the field asking for “website” and your site will be linked.




Filed under blogging

104 responses to “I Read You; I Read You Not

  1. I’ve always wanted to know this about you!!!! I love and appreciate that you shared your process so thouroughly. Seriously. I’m so interested.
    I wish I could be as consistent with my reading and commenting.
    You are my role model for sure.
    great post!

    • Glad you liked it, Teresa. I debated writing about it, wondering if anyone cared or would read. And, you are doing just fine with your presence out in the blog world:)

  2. Karen, thanks to you I am also a ‘liker’ of Google Reader. And, on your advice I also have my subfolders: healthy living-related; writing and blogging-related; and other faves.

    I try to do a lot of the things you mention, visit those bloggers who visit my blog, respond to comments etc.

    I do find the sheer numbers of blogs I follow to be a bit overwhelming at times and often blink in horror when I log on in the morning to find 50 unread posts each day. *Gulp*

    I probably need to do some culling myself and perhaps that’s my next task.

    Like you, the thing that brings me back again and again, is the content – if I like a blogger’s ideas, thinking or writing; or if they challenge me in some way… then I’ll be back. (Which is why I keep visiting yours – ha! Does that sound ‘sucky’?)


    • You make me smile:) Thanks. And I was thinking how I’ve evolved – when I set up my first folder it was “dieter” blogs. If I did it now it would be more like “healthy living” or some such. The blogging and social media related ones are some that I go through the fastest, often not reading them at all. I have debated unsubscribing to most but every so often there is a valuable nugget in there, like a great tip on using WordPress.

  3. Like you I use Google Reader exclusively. There are probably other tools I could use on my other devices (eg iPad) but I like using the one Reader so that I maintain “read/unread” status across devices. I haven’t thought of setting up folders either, so might explore that too. Thanks for that idea. Like you, I’m not a prolific commenter, and will often not comment if it is difficult to do. Nice post …thanks.

    • And then what I find is interesting is I never know which post will actually generate comments! I suspect other bloggers find the same. I have a reader app for my tablet (Asus) that lets me sync then actually read items offline if I have no wifi connection later. But I find it hard to click to the actual post (and of course can’t do that without an internet connection) and very hard to comment since I just can’t type worth beans on the table. And more than once I’ve accidentally marked “all as read” on the tablet. Oops.

  4. Hi Karen,
    I read and enjoy your blog – a lot of what you write really resonates with me – but I don’t always comment. What I really appreciate about you is that you do leave a comment, even when my comment is #101 on your list and that makes me feel valued as a reader.

    I have a little principle that if I comment on someone’s blog more than a handful of times and they don’t acknowledge my contribution or visit my blog, I tend to walk. I’m after a sense of connection and community.

    Liz N

    • Thanks for telling me, Liz. I’m mostly the same, especially with the smaller, more personal blogs. But there are some that I go back to regardless, for a variety of reasons. Although, I am unlikely to keep commenting.

  5. Great post Karen! The connections I make from other bloggers is the reason I love blogging so much! The support, advice, friendship and laughter is what makes this so enjoyable for me. The connections I have made are meaningful!
    I use Net News Wire as my blog reader. My husband is a “geek” and this is what he uses- so he set it up for me. Since he is my tech support- I go with what he knows! 🙂

    • My SIL has the first blog I ever read. And she was the first person, only person maybe, in my life that actually read blogs as far as I know. She told me about google reader once, long before I “got it” or was ready to try. But that’s where the seeds were planted. I learned several tips from here later. If she’d used a different reader, I’m sure I would have followed along.

      My husband is my tech “geek” too but knows nothing about the blog stuff, either writing or reading. Darn, I could use some tech support right NOW!

  6. You already know this about me since we’ve discussed it in depth, but I also use Google Reader exclusively for blog reading. My blog reading is divided pretty evenly between healthy living/weight loss blogs and travel/hiking blogs so I use folders as well. This post reignited my desire for a blogging goal I’ve harbored a long time and I think it may be time to write about it. But like you said, geez, where does the time come from??????? Great and very honest post!

    • Well now you have me intrigued! And I do remember (some but not all, darn memory) of our great blogging discussions. It was actually quite nice to be able to talk about this stuff with someone who “gets it.” And to see how others “do it.” And to share our observations and wonderings.

  7. Well, guess I need to get on the stick with this Google reader business. I just use the blogs I follow tab on WordPress (I can add non-Wordpress blogs to it easily enough). I’ve also just hit the point at which I may need to cull some that don’t really hit the sweet spot for me for whatever reason.

    I so appreciate your comment diligence. Having comments from my regular readers gives me an extra layer of accountability that helps tremendously.

    • I’m all for whatever works for you, Andie. I happen to find google reader convenient and also use google calendar. (I am resisting google+ though!) And thanks for telling me, it’s nice to know that people DO appreciate it.

  8. This may be a useless comment… since my schedule is insane right now. Right now, I don’t have ANY weight/diet/food blogs in my Google Reader. It’s 28 subscriptions for work stuff and a few organizational, inspirational things like Zen Habits and Tiny Buddha.

    Right now, I’m reading just a handful of blogs routinely. So I either receive them by e-mail, know when they post and just go visit, or just plan to check in when I have a free moment and the requisite energy to do so.

    Other than that, I’m kind of of blogging/commenting/reading sabbatical. That said, when new or out of the ordinary folks comment on my blog, I make sure to check in with theirs if I haven’t in a while.

    My process will change dramatically once my schedule returns to normal, and I can add this much-missed activity back into my life in a reasonable manner.

    • I’m all about doing what works for you. Me. Whomever. And, modifying as needed is awesome. One thing I’ll mention in case you get back much to google reader and don’t know this already… when you use folders, you can actually choose to mark only one folder as “read.” So, you could delete, say, the diet stuff one day when you needed to focus on work. I do something similar by very, very quickly scanning thru the college items in my reader. That’s actually why I moved that folder to the top – so I could do it first and fast and then my “number” goes down and I feel a bit less stressed:)

      • Oh yes, seeing that number makes me stressed too. That’s why I started receiving the ones I really want by e-mail. There’s one I’d like to receive, but she doesn’t have an e-mail option. Anyway, the Reader feels like a big reading assignment that I need to get through. And the harder part is how I have work stuff and weight/food/etc. blogs all in it… even when divided into folders, it’s difficult to see the number of articles in one folder when I’m in it for something else… it’s so tempting… and then I lose too much time.

        For the next six or eight weeks, it’s about getting through it. After that, I can reassess and maybe do things differently. I’m really enjoying my Facebook and Twitter Sabbatical though. It will be two weeks Friday, and I feel a little more free without them.

        Signing off… if you reply, please do so by e-mail as I won’t be checking back here again.

  9. I use the reader plus just pop around and visit people who have commented. Often I get sidetracked by someone’s blog list and go visit those people too. I really, really try to comment on every blog I read – even if they have a zillion comments like you!

    • A zillion!? Wouldn’t that be fun:) I sometimes get sidetracked in much the same way. And every so often I catch a blog title or name on a blog roll that intrigues me and gets me to check things out.

  10. Blogs are like people with all the varieties and idiosyncrasies!

    For the most part, I like the view. Very rarely, I keep driving by like looking at a train wreck. Fortunately, not too many of those 🙂

  11. Ewa

    I have yet to embrace google reader. I am still using blogger dashboard for the list of recently publish posts. Sometimes it ‘forgets’ to list all of them.
    Time is always an issue so I have to be choosy. There is a number of blogs I read on regular basis because their authors over the years have become my friends. Even if their posts are boring (yes, we all have those), I will always make an effort to comment.
    If time allows I venture into less favorite or new blogs.
    All that reading takes enough time to make it difficult sometimes to write my own posts but that’s ok, I benefit more from reading than writing.

    • I guess I sort of see the whole process as something we should do for ourselves. Whatever it is we get out of it, writing and reading. And for each of us it’s different. We should do it because we get something from it.

  12. I can relate with the setting aside time to write/read blogs. Before I started my current job, I had a set time to write a blog almost every day, and then I would read blogs. Now (ESPECIALLY now), it takes effort to sit down and write, and reading/commenting happens when it can!

    • I was thinking about you while working on this post because your other blog is still in my reader and shows up in that image above:) I just can’t bring myself to delete it out of there.

  13. I learned some things here. I have never used google reader, I just use my blog roll. I find most of my new blogs to read by checking out new followers or new posters or someone who has been mentioned or who has commented on a blog I already read. Time is a huge issue. I love the community and the ideas and the friendship of blogging, but lots of time I feel like I’m spending time here (in blog land) that I could better spend exercising or playing with my grandkids or . . . . You were one of the first visitors to my blog and your blogs are fun to read.

    • I didn’t know I was one of the first. Fun. You were probably one of MY first too! Maybe I’ll go back and look at that someday. And balance – key for us all. I don’t know how I’d do this little hobby like I do if I had a job or small kids (my own or grandbabies)around.

  14. I only read blogs using Google Reader and use many of the same tactics that you do. I skip many parts of posts that are think are whiny or rambling, too. I have my favs and generally check in with those people at least once or twice per week.

    Commenting: usually, I do not make time to go back and check on a comment I made for a reply. But, if I kicked someone’s butt, I always do.

    I think you know I guard my blogging time. I do enjoy it immensely, especially my favs, but I have to be careful about how much time I spend. I tend to follow folks who only post 1-2 times per week, too.

    • I thought about talking about that – frequency. I find it ironic that when I cut back my own blogging schedule, I worried that readers wouldn’t like it. But now I realize for myself that I actually prefer when bloggers don’t post every day! It’s just so much to read. Sometimes I see bloggers set a goal to post more often, even more than once a day, and I almost cringe.

  15. Hi Karen — Thanks for sharing your process….I have been meaning to get my own process for reading, writing and sharing.

    You are definetly “a must go to” every time I do the reading part!

  16. One of the reasons that I keep coming back to your blog is because of the quality of comments you leave. No “great post!” comments from you. I clearly remember one particular comment you left when I wrote a post about not following bloggers who never have anything positive to say. You mentioned a friend who said she was discouraged by your success because it made her feel like a loser in comparison. That comment really struck a chord in me and taught me something about compassion. I’d much rather have someone leave an occasional thought provoking comment like that then a bunch of generic, “nice post” ones.

    • Wow – good memory! I know exactly who I was talking about. You are an interesting case study for blog following since I followed for so long and then you stopped. And I eventually cut you from my reader. And then… here you are again:)

  17. Such an interesting post for sure. I agree that there are so many blogs and too little time. I also agree that there are obviously some blogs that speak to me more than others. I love to comment when I feel I can contribute something worthwhile.

    Also blogs with little or weird print or too much clicking around is just too much work.

    I love relationships with other bloggers, but would rather have a few good ones than a ton of so-so ones.

    • I think you are right and have had interesting discussions with fellow bloggers who I met in person about the quantity vs. quality of readership. I also think we each evolve over time in what we might want to read.

  18. I remember you visiting my blog after I commented on yours! Your thoughtful gesture (my blog is a whole different genre as it’s personal finance) helped me read enough here to know I wanted to subscribe.

    I subscribe to most blogs by email and catch up on my reading that way. I like Google Reader but get busy and forget to go there. I can’t ignore email for obvious reasons so that has worked out well for me.

    • Okay, I’ll be totally honest with you – some comments left here I wonder if they are really from a person who is commenting because of the content or commenting to drive traffic to their commercial site. I’ve had a few that were very suspect.

  19. Thanks for sharing this scoop! I’ve been wanting to try a reader but admit I’m still stuck in 2008 and subscribe via email to the blogs I follow. Because of time, I don’t follow many – perhaps eight on a regular basis. And yours is one of my favorites because the posts feel like I’m having a conversation with a delightful, down-to-earth friend. 🙂

    • Aaw, thanks, Shira:) I used to subscribe to some with email if that was the only option on their blog but then I learned that I could actually subscribe to ANY blog with reader even if there wasn’t a link or button on there:) I actually even learned a great trick where I added a button to my toolbar that lets me subscribe to blogs that way. For me, the ones in the email inbox where just more “email clutter.” I have that open almost all the time I’m on the computer, unlike my reader.

  20. I am selective in my blog reading as well. I don’t think I’ve thought through it quite as completely as you have though. I had to pull back because blog reading became a ‘transfer addiction’ for me. I do have a few that I can’t miss because I feel a certain friendship with them. Others, I scan and a few I read a few times and decide I’m fine without it.

    Thanks for the insight.

  21. I do my best to keep up with blog reading (and posting, for that matter), but some weeks are better than others. Unless I’m reading on my iphone, I almost always leave a comment.

    I also love new commenters, especially if I haven’t read their blogs before. Many times their perspectives seem new or fresh and are often energizing for someone who might be eating too much apple pie. 🙂

    Oh, and as you know, I’m a google reader devotee. Love it!

    • I try not to read blogs from my tablet. (Not an iPad… for those who have wondered.) It is wayyyyy to hard to comment from there and I have accidentally marked “all as read” before. Oops.

  22. I haven’t succumbed to using a reader yet, but I’m with you on every single other thing you said. I do use my sidebar … which shows the last time somebody on my list blogged … to check new posts. And I do look at blogs other people follow to find new blogs.

    • Sounds like you have a system that works well for you, Siobhan. BTW – you are one who I know replies and that I should check back for that. Mostly I remember:) Actually, I probably have replied to your replies to my comments before!

  23. Wonderful post Karen. Thanks so much for sharing.

    I really need to figure out the folders…. I’d actually break mine up by ‘Fast, Easy Reads’ for when I’m browsing on my phone on the bus and those that are more image-heavy for when I’m on my laptop at home.

    Have you tried the “Next” feature in Reader? It allows you to scroll through all your new posts but directly on the webpages themselves. Sooo much easier for being able to add comments (and to see what else others are doing on their websites).

    • I have not! Thanks for the tip. I still discover new things about it every so often. Some accidentally on my own but most thanks to others sharing. The folders is, IMO, much more complicated than it needs to be. For some reason I can’t remember how to do it and need to search help every darn time to set up a new one. But it is easy, peasy to put blogs into the folders once you have them.

      Another thing you can do instead of folders is just move the blogs around in the list so the ones you want to read first are at the top. My SIL does it like that.

  24. Nicole

    Hi Karen, I LOVE your blog. Even though I don’t comment all the time I do read your blog everyday. I find it hard to comment on peoples’ blog because I have terrible internet and I am only allowed a certain amount of downloading and uploading per month. So when I do comment on someone’s blog I don’t go back because its hard to find my comment and then having to download everyone’s comments and answers again is hard. Some blogs have 1,000 comments so its a lot to download for me, that is why I don’t participate in many giveaways because you have to download all comments etc. Maybe there is an easier way to comment and then read the bloggers response to my comment but I haven’t figured that one out yet. I just wanted to let you know that I read your blog everyday but don’t comment as often as I would like too because of internet service. I hope this makes sense. Maybe you have suggestions for me. I don’t have a blog, (my life is way too boring) but I do enjoy reading blogs.

    • Thanks for telling me. I wish there was an easier way too! That’s why I love the auto-email-replies that some bloggers have. But when I did that in the past it had a major glitch and that was BAD!! BTW – when I have time later, I’m going to email this to you manually:)

  25. I feel and act pretty much the same way…and I love Google reader. I have a core group of must-read blogs and I usually comment on pretty much every post in this group. I don’t leave comments just for the sake of it, though.

    I tend to get overwhelmed when I don’t have what I consider to be “enough time” to go through the blogs on my reader…like this week, I’m away and so I’m feeling a bit of pressure! LOL

    • Oh me too! I hate that. I know bloggers who will “mark all as read” and I just can’t! What if I miss something IMPORTANT!!! But I have done it accidentally more than once before.

      Sometimes I read something and really am struck by it but don’t comment because I just don’t know what to say. Sometimes I have typed out a comment and deleted it because it sounded stupid or I worried it would come across wrong. Okay, I guess my inner perfectionist needs a bit more work here!

  26. KC

    I use Google Reader also, but I don’t sort anything into folders. I just go from top to bottom once or twice a day. Unless a post grabs me in the first few sentences like this one did, I just skim it for a general concept and don’t read the whole thing. I really hate when blogs don’t allow their full post to be duplicated on a feed. I hate having to click through just to read what sometimes is just the second half of a sentence. I don’t mind clicking thru to comment on the rare occassions that I comment. I’m a lousy commenter. My real-life shyness carries over into commenting on blogs.

    • I hate that too! I’ve actually asked a few bloggers to change that. One did, after having me explain how. So sweet of her. The other ignored me:) Twice. I actually had that once on my blog but changed it when a reader pointed it out and asked me to. Easy. I want to make readers happy:)

      Did you know that you can move your subscriptions around by dragging them? So, no folders needed, you could put them in some order of the the ones you most read at the top and least at the bottom, for example. My SIL does this.

  27. This is a fantastic post, and in many places your process is a lot like mine. (Big shock, huh?) I often do a skim when time is of the essence, and since almost all my blog time is while I’m at work, that’s often.

    I wish you lived closer and could walk me through Google Reader and some of the other stuff you spoke about. I could optimize my blog time if I knew how to survey the big picture and zero in on the real meat, and there I go again with a food metaphor…

    You have been so generous of your time, support and reading of my stuff that I see how it would be impossible for you to do that across the blog board. But I see your comments in many places and am really appreciative for all the you give to many of us here.

    Here’s to a clean day for us both!

    • Well, as you know, I connect with you often and on many levels. And, as I have told you more than once I am sure, I love how you write. And your sense of self-deprecating humor. And, not to go on and on, but… I am pretty sure you are one of the first bloggers I started following.

      Now… as for the reader walk-thru – we can so do that via email!

  28. Karen – I need to read this in more detail & don’t have time right now so I will be coming back cause I know I NEED to read this! 🙂

  29. Back when I started weight loss blogging, I was like a sponge. I would spend a good 2 hours reading and commenting on blogs. Like you, I did it at a time when I could have used my energy for other things. I probably should have read and commented at night rather than during the afternoon. I guess I felt more inspired in the afternoon.

    I recently had to thin out my blogroll. A lot of the bloggers I used to enjoy are either no longer updating their blogs or their blogs are no longer on the ‘net.

    I like blogs that make me think. I love it when a blogger is invested in their blogs. The only thing that makes me not come back is when they don’t update for long periods of time.

    I have been guilty of that though. Usually, I run out of things to say or my life has taken a different direction than what the topic of the blog is.

    Great post!! I have not used Google Reader, but perhaps I will start using it now!


    • Funny thing is, I don’t always delete a blog that hasn’t updated for a while. Because some I hope will return. And, every once in a while one does! Ages later!

  30. Several bloggers I follow use the reader exclusively. I tried it and didn’t really dig it. Maybe it was just my frame of mind and I need to give it another shot. It confused me a bit and I wasn’t sure how to comment. I try to comment on most posts I read, though not all. Sometimes I don’t connect with the topic, or have nothing to say, but I try hard to support my fellow bloggers when I can. Thanks for the peek into your process!

    • Well the bad news is that you can’t comment thru google reader. EXCEPT, I read that there is a way to do it if you use Chrome for your browser and add an add on or something or other. So, it doesn’t really help with commenting, just organizing and reading,.

  31. It was fun to read about how you read blogs. I use Google Reader too, but am still learning the ins and outs of it. I would like to comment on all the posts that I read but often I am or would be the 29th or higher commenter. By then, I feel there is nothing new that I can contribute so I won’t. I should do a better job of at least saying “hello” to these high volume blogs, because I am reading them. So “hello” Karen. If I have left several comments on someone’s blog and never get the same courtesy, I may stop. I’m here not only to learn but for the camaraderie.

    • I’ve heard others before say that they are more inclined to comment when there are less other commenters, thinking the blogger needs them more. For me, I actually rarely look at the other comments, what they said or how many there are. I just comment or don’t.

  32. Very intersting and in depth look into your blogging style! I often wondered how you could manage to post comments on so many blogs all the time!You are very organized.

    I do use my Google Reader for my must read blogs and have my favorite bloggers on my home page. I read the post in my reader and then if I want to comment I go to the original post and leave a comment. If I only have time to skim the post I don’t comment – I can usually tell on my own blog by the comment left those who didn’t really read the post.

    I am not tit for tat as far as comments go. I don’t comment on someones blog just because they do on mine.In fact I follow a couple of bloggers who don’t comment on my blog – that is okay by me. I know how much time all of this takes and we can all only do so much blogging.

    I am trying to cut back on the amount of time I am on the computer. Like food, exercise and healthy eating I have to find the right balance.

    Like Tish mentioned I feel like my time can be better spent in the “real” world and I am better off moving my body rather than sitting at my computer. It is a tug of war at times because I love the blogsphere and the friends I have made.

    So then there is the choice of how to spend the time I allow for working on my blog – should it be working on my posts, trying new recipes, photographing finished dishes or should it be spent reading and commenting on other blogs.Sigh – I feel like there are a lot of tough choices.

    The sacrifice I am making is not leaving comments on every blog I read. There is guilt associated with this choice!

    In the beginning it felt like there was pressure to leave comments on blogs so others would leave comments on my blog. I don’t want to get sucked into that mindset. I want to leave a comment because I feel like I have something to say about the post that the author will like to read. I don’t go back to see if they left a reply unless I asked a question.

    I am not looking for any new blogs to read as I can barely keep us with the ones I already know about.

    I am trying to find a balance that works for me. Like most things in my life it is a work in progress.

    Thanks for sharing this topic and starting so much converstation. I enjoyed reading everyones responses and now have used up all of my afternoon computer time on just one blog!

    • I think your blog has evolved some from what I first remember and I suspect that it brings in a different type of reader because of it. I’d classify you as a “food” blogger. And it is very obvious how much time you put into each and every post, Tami. Those recipes. The photos. Beautiful. But because of my “eating plan,” I often scan down to the Nutmeg Notes. That’s my favorite part.

      And you remind me that I meant to mention the questions bloggers put at the end of the post. Sometimes I answer them and other times I just comment on content.

  33. I really enjoyed reading this, and we share a lot of the same thoughts. I try to be very careful to visit everyone that stops by my blog, and mostly I manage that. I try not to leave comments just to comment, and I find that sometimes a little cheering is enough. 🙂

  34. Wait. What? You do not eat while reading on the computer? Pfft. I wish I could be like that. I sit down to lunch and blogs.

    What I am most surprised at: The amount of blogs you read. Holy macaroni and cheese!

    I started reading you from a fave on Teresa’s blog. I loved her writing (and now I love her) and I thought well, if she likes her, I probably will. And I was RIGHT! I limit my blog reading otherwise I forget what is going on with them. I also like to read other commenters thoughts on the blogs I go to especially if I like the post.

    I need to figure out this reader thing. I REALLY do.

    • One thing that impresses me about you is your commenting. Not only is it thoughtful. And fun. And funNY. But you come back and reply sometimes and clearly read other comments as well. I know on your blog to go back and check for replies to MY comments. Okay, I may not always remember, but usually.

      I have actually recommended your blog to a few people because of your great writing style and amazing sense of humor. I enjoy how you write:) And you make me smile. Thank you.

      Oh – I’ve done something similar – thought “I like HER blog so I will probably like who she likes…”

  35. Hi Karen! I will admit–I just can’t keep up anymore with everyone’s posts! I almost prefer the blogs that do *not* post daily. I do read more posts than I comment on.

    I do comment on unpopular blogs. Some of these blogs are new, and I remember that I wrote about 70 posts before I had readers other than my kids. However, I do admit to being turned off with complaining.

    A couple of new bloggers, who I wondered if my comments even mattered, or worse, were annoying to them, later told me that my comments were special to them. So I keep commenting, hoping to cheer people on, even when I don’t know for sure.

    🙂 Marion

    • I’ll admit it, Marion. I DO prefer the ones who don’t post daily. Which is ironic considering I used to post 7 days a week and worried each time I cut back! But it doesn’t mean I won’t read or subscribe.

  36. Excellent post, Karen. It is so difficult to keep up with everyone’s posts, and that is why I post only once or twice a week myself. I do have some regulars that I read, but if I read and comment regularly on someone else’s blog and they don’t ever comment on mine, I just figure there’s no connection. That’t OK–and unless I really want to read their blog in spite of no interaction, I may delete them from my list. That makes things simpler. However, I’m having a lot of trouble with Blogger. It’s doing some strange things, such as blanking out someone’s post as soon as I access it and now allowing me too manage my followers. Not quite sure what to do about i.

    • Ah blogger. I have often had trouble commenting because of weirdness. Once I tried over and over and later found out the comment showed up several times! I admit that I find it easier to follow someone who post less often. Which is quite ironic because when I cut back (from my original 7 days a week!) I worried I’d lose readers!

  37. Hi Karen, this was a totally awesome post. It told me so much that I wanted to know as a blog writer! In fact, I have been wanting to turn off word verification for post on my blog, but was too lazy to find out how. After reading this post, I went ahead and turned it off. Thanks for sharing your thought process!!

    • Oh I do hate those things but some are much worse than others. And sometimes I am too fast to close a tab, thinking I got the comment submitted, and as the page is shutting I see it flash that I got the darn thing typed in wrong! Oops.

  38. I didn’t know that you could do folders in google reader, which I am slowly getting used to. Thanks for the tip – I feel an organization day coming!

    Interesting to see your comment policy. I’ve recently given myself permission to not have to comment on every blog I read; instead, when I DO comment, I try to really say something instead of a pat on the back.

    I do love the blogging community and am glad there are so many people willing to share their lives. 🙂

    • I’m by no means an expert but feel free to email me if I can help. I’ve done that for a few other bloggers recently. And thank you for commenting today, Shelley. I had no idea you were reading:)

  39. Ann

    I totally agree with most of what you posted. I read my favorites everyday. There are a couple I’ve dropped just because the color font or size was just annoying. I skim some that I care less about and look for posts that seem interesting. I often clean out my reader and “mark all as read” when I’m behind after reading what I really want to read. I love your blog. It’s definitely on my must read list. BTW I tagged you today….

    • Thanks, Ann. And I’ll get over there eventually. You are, after all, in my reader:) I have never intentionally marked all as read. I worry I might miss something IMPORTANT! How crazy is that? But I have accidentally done it at least twice that I can remember. It was a bit of a freak out moment the first time then I thought “ah, less to do today.”

  40. Thank you for sharing you’ve found that works for you. I’m still in love/hate/serious confusion with Google Reader (ok, I’m lying – really it’s just confusion). The only folks I can find are the ones (like you) that I follow by email. Hopefully one of these days I’ll find all the others again 🙂

  41. Miz

    of course you KNOW Im already singing YOU REEEAD I REEAD in my head 🙂
    I am a clicker arounder.
    I wish I google readered but not enough to google reader I guess 🙂

    • But you soooo amaze me because I see you commenting all over and I know how very busy you are. I am sure that part of it is just one more piece of your brand, but you are one supportive blogger! And I have been on the receiving end more than once and in more ways than just comments here. Much thanks, Miz, for being inexcusably who you are and for being part of what makes my blogworld so fabulous.

  42. My blog reading style is fairly similar to yours. I have found I will skip over any blog that is tough on the eyes to read (light font on a dark background, as you mentioned). I have also found I try to “weed through” blogs that have more posts that are uninteresting to me than posts I enjoy…that whole “so little time” thing for me, too. 🙂

    I usually keep up via e-mail, though, with my “regular” blogging friends. I have never given Google Reader a go, but now I’m intrigued to at least try it. You make it sound so enticing – LOL I would *love* to organize the blogs into categories/folders so that it would be simpler to check in…and it would save my e-mail inbox a bunch of clutter.

    As for commenting…I also comment as often as I can. However, I only comment if I have something decent to say (or, as you mentioned, if I want to give a quick “Way to go!” to someone). Although I must admit, I talk a lot and words are rarely in short supply. 🙂


    • I used to subscribe to some by email if that was the only option and hated adding to the email clutter. It took me a long time to find out, thanks to another blogger, that you can add ANY blog to google reader even if they don’t have a link or button. If you want help, send me an email:)

      BTW – you can organize more easily than folders, if you want. Simply dragging the names of blogs on your list to where you want them. My SIL, for example, puts the ones she wants to read first on tip. Easy!

  43. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I replied in my own comments

    Finding a starting point for anything, but particularly for a diet, is sometimes very difficult. For me, it takes a bit of planning (how, what, when and preparing (as in environment and attitude). Of course, planning and preparing don’t guarantee success, and sometimes things fall into our laps and our wishes seem to take flight.

  44. Jan

    Thanks for the amazing detail on your process(es).

    It is fascinating how a blog’s setup can make or break readers’ eyes. For presentations on in a huge room, yellow text on a dark blue background work wonders; blogging – blech. Regular newspaper style works much better. Fonts – serifs are easier to read (so say those in the know), so why do most of us prefer to use sans serif? While a page might look slick with just pieces of a post to intrigue one, I completely agree that an entire post showing up on Reader and on a blog are my preference.

    I have quit visiting new blogs, unless someone new leaves a comment on mine, or I stumble on one from someone else’s. (The War On Insulin is a new find from Gary Taubes’ blog.) I use Google Reader to organize and decide what to read. Heaven help me if I get behind, as I am right now.

    • My son once told me that they taught in school that the easiest on the eyes is white on a black background. NOT for me! I read a blog tip that said you can increase your readership by the simple act of increasing your font size! I thought about trying it buy my blogs are sooooo long that I figured that would make them look even longer and scare people off:) So… be honest with me… is my font easy enough to read? Seems fine to me but I’m used to it. I actually saw someone talk about a plug in that would let me put fun fonts in my posts. Right now I can’t do anything but this and italics. I love to play with them. But, I suspect it will then make it harder for my readers. Not to mention every time I add something to WordPress I risk some darn tech issue. Do you read blogs on your iPad?

      • Jan

        Your font is fine for reading. I do most of my “must read” blogs on my iPad while trying to awaken. I hate so much the Onswipe feature designed to pretty up ones’s blog for iPad readers that I have disabled it on my options. If I need the font larger while reading on my tablet, I just enlarge the page with my fingers. Your font size is fine on a regular screen.

  45. I don’t use a reader, I just have a long list of favorites and I try to get through them every couple of days. I tend to comment more when I have something to say, than just because I read. And I agree that I tend not to comment when there are already a bunch of comments or when I am reading several days behind!

    I have been less active on my “diet” blog becasue I have not been active or dieting. I just hate post after post of whining or self flagellation – so I just tend to go dark. I agree though, that I worry when I see someone I follow do that.

    I only read 3-4 weight related blogs. Several general topics and a couple politically related. I would say a dozen on a semi-daily basis and another 6 weekly. I do somethimes go out and about and check out other blogs and I always click over to see the blog of anyone who comments on mine.

    I wish I could generate more topics on my blogs (I have 3) but I do have so many other things to do!!

    • You have 3! I knew about 2 of them. I was actually going to start a second one myself and even set it up and had a list of post ideas. But realized that would take way more time than I could give it to do justice to it.

  46. This is a good breakdown. I agree with most of it. When I first started reading blogs I LOVED it and collected all of them. I soon realized that I didn’t HAVE to read all of them and I didn’t have to comment.

    Now, I am much more subjective on what I choose to read. If the writer doesn’t appeal to me, or I find myself disagreeing with most of the things they write, I stopped reading. I prefer to read bloggers I can relate to–like people who have lost a significant amount of weight.

  47. I am sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo late to the game here Karen – sorry!!! I have had a few things going & has been hard to read & comment on the blogs I normally do which upsets me cause I want to! 🙂 I can’t believe how many you follow – I think I would drive myself crazy wanting to get to them all which is my big issue – I feel guilty at times like now when I can’t…. I like that you see the posts when they go public because I do mine by email & many times it is like a day after everyone else commented…

    I might have to start reading & commenting later too cause like you, I think better in the morn & I should be doing the hard core stuff then.

    Great post Karen – thx!

    • I was thinking of you when I wrote parts of this. Because it may be days without a post from you in my reader, then, as I’ve told you before, up pops 3! You are the only one that happens with. And, Jody, please never feel rushed to get over here and comment. I love hearing from you whenever. And I’m not going anywhere:)

  48. This is a lot like me. I read a lot, but don’t comment as much as I used to because of how many blogs I read. And, well, work gets in the way of that stuff LOL!

    I do find that I only give a blog a few chances before getting pitched out of my reader. White text on black background is a big no-no for mid 40s eyes.

  49. I also like google reader. I’ve probably yet to really maximize it’s use, but it has helped me tremendously be a little more organized in my blog reading!

  50. Betty

    I don’t read as many blogs as you do yet it’s great that I can always leave a comment on almost every blog I read. Though some blogs are amazingly written, it is discouraging to know they require membership and registration first.

  51. Patrick

    I’ve blogged about my problems technically with commenting, I think I have that sorted out via my iPhone. I find the easiest method for me is to run down my comments via WordPress view for them and jump to blogs from there. That said, I do intend to mess around with a reader at some point.

  52. This is so interesting to hear about the mechanics of your process! The more I’ve worked on my book and its promotion and all the myriad things I do for it (my life purpose, I think), the less I can do on my blog and the blogs of others. There was a time when I used to spend a lot of time reading and commenting but it had to end, although hopefully those relationships haven’t. And I love that you said you turn off the music (I do too) and that you worry when someone goes missing. Even though I’m not a weight loss blogger, you know I’ve followed quite a few due to my past history and I’ve worried more about my body blogging buddies going missing than anyone else, probably because I know what can happen when a person loses their motivation.

    • I worried the first time you went missing! Now I don’t since you are posting so infrequently and I know that you have all sorts of other stuff taking up your writing energy:)

  53. J

    I love me Google Reader – all my news, blogs, etc in one place, synced across work, home, phone, out and about.

  54. I use a plugin through google chrome that lets me comment in google reader and I love it! Make reading and commenting so much easier.

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