Bring out the dead blogs!

(Seeing Monty Python, with a blog that hasn’t had a post since October protesting that it’s not quite dead yet…)

One consequence of using an aggregator with the “only show new posts” option–and I find it hard to believe that people would put up with Bloglines without that option checked!–is that moribund blogs stay there forever, since there are no new posts to convince you that the blog’s no longer worth readings.

So, not feeling like writing productively yesterday afternoon, I decided to do a trimming of the 398 library-related blogs in my Bloglines subscription (no, they’re not all public subs), on this basis:

  • If the most recent post is earlier than September 1, 2006, the blog’s moribund enough to go.
  • If the Bloglines link doesn”t work or yields a “parking” or other nonsense page, or it’s now clear that the so-called blog isn’t a blog at all, then it’s worth removing for other reasons.

It’s probably been a year since I’ve done anything like this. I had no idea what to expect.

Results: I unsubscribed from 47 feeds. (Well, actually, I unsubscribed from 48, but one case was a change of address where I subscribed to the new feed, so that doesn’t count.) That’s–let’s see, 398 into 47, carry the 7.2–11.8%.

Which isn’t a bad failure rate over a year, but I’m not sure it means much, since quite a few of the remaining 351 were added during the year–and since I’m unlikely to add blogs that look like short-termers.

Will the subscription list creep back up over 400 total (I have 30 “non-library” blogs in the list as well) within a year? I can’t imagine doing this more than once a year, so the answer’s probably a definite maybe.

Not the final post of the year, by the way…

Instant update with the piece I forgot: I actually had a semi-legitimate excuse to spend this time. A blogger was talking about a book contract. There was some chance that the topic of the book might collide/intersect/overlap with one of several small (print on demand) books I’ve been thinking about. I wanted to contact the blogger, so that if what they’re planning does overlap with what I was thinking about, I could “stop thinking about it”–drop that particular idea to the bottom of the list of possibilities. But I didn’t respond immediately–and I’d forgotten which blogger it was. I found the post during this process and have sent off the email inquiry. Do note that I’m not saying “Don’t do this because I might do it”–I’m saying “If you’re doing this, I’ll avoid a competing book for now.”

2 Responses to “Bring out the dead blogs!”

  1. Jenny Levine Says:

    Wow, I’m stunned. I remember when just a few years ago you wondered why someone would read hundreds of feeds in an aggregator, theorizing that it would be too difficult to read that many sources at a coherent depth. You’ve come a long way, Mr. Crawford!

  2. walt Says:

    If the average blogger was doing a post a day, it would indeed be too difficult to read hundreds of sources at a coherent depth without taking more time than I\’m willing to allot.

    Most bloggers don\’t post very often these days. [I see a total of 129 109 (plus 20 Bloglines burps of old posts) posts since 4 p.m. yesterday.] And I\’ve gotten pretty good at skipping most posts: I don\’t read them all \”at a coherent depth\” by any means.

    Understand that I don\’t recommend subscribing to 350+ feeds! It works for me, but that\’s me.


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