About a year ago I posted about my dislike of RSS and newsfeeds in general - a post that provoked some negative responses.
Well, about ten days ago I broke down and started my Bloglines. Here are the first impressions.
The number of blogs I subscribe to is growing really fast. It is at 325 right now. The list is getting too large and unwieldy. Perhaps once the number crosses some treshold I will have to change the strategy and just use it as a blogroll.
I am spending far too much time checking all the updates instead of writing my own posts or, even better, writing my Dissertation. I feel compelled to keep up with all updates on all those blogs as soon as they appear. I post much less myself.
Some updates do not appear on Bloglines for as long as 30 minutes after they are posted. And that does not matter to me at all.
I put on some blogs that I did not regularly read before but everyone else reads all the time. I was thinking that if I see what they offer every day I'll get hooked, too. Kevin Drum, Atrios, Tapped, Yglesias and Josh Marshall are among those. And what happened? Nothing - I still do not read them. In about a second or less I scan the post titles and, not finding anything of interest, I move on.
I totally ignore the blogs that are NOT on my Bloglines. I used to check some blogs daily (or more), some a couple of times a week, some every couple of weeks. Now I am ignoring more than half of my bookmarks/blogroll.
I comment much less. It takes two clicks instead of one. I am also in a rush to go through all the highlighted (i.e., recently updated) blogs, so I feel I never have enough time to stop by and post a comment. Also, if I do post a comment I now forget I did as I tend not to check old posts any more - just the newly posted ones. So, my comments are hit-and-run instead of an initiation of a dialogue with the host.
I do not like the sterile feel of it all. Every blog has a different look and feel to it - a personality. On Bloglines, there is just bland text. I understand now how much I do not read blogs for information but for friendship - the conversation. And using the feed is like getting telegrams from friends instead of visiting them in their homes, inviting them over for dinner, or meeting them at a restaurant. It is also one-sided: they talk to me, but I do not talk back to them. Sorta like not answering my e-mails.
The look and feel of a blog is more important than I thought before. The new SEED group of scienceblogs is one place I go to outside of Bloglines. About half of the blogs there I've been reading daily for quite a while now, and the other half I used to check occasionally (only one of the blogs is new to me). I noticed that when I read them I visualize in my mind how their old blogs used to look like. That is how I get to feel their personalities again. I sure hope they get to play with the looks of their blogs soon, because without the deep green pastels and earth tones it is just not warm enough in their virtual homes anymore. How are new readers going to like them if their blogs are so cookie-cutter black-on-white-small-font?
So, do you use a newsfeed, and if so, what is your strategy for using it and how do you deal with the negatives?