I don’t know if it can be done but I may have to try. Of course I’m reading too many blogs. In fact I have subscribed to that many that there are a lot of posts on these blogs that I’m not reading at all. Sometimes I just look at them in my feed reader, think, “Oh good, nothing interesting!” and click off to the next one.
I started subscribing to more and more craft blogs, nice pictures and not much text. Beautiful pictures to look at. In an attempt to cope with the sheer quantity of new blog posts every day I have sorted them into folders (you can see that on my blogroll). The distinction between “most favorite” and “very favorite” actually should read “blogs by people whom I really like and regularly comment on” versus “blogs I really like but usually don’t comment on any more because I don’t want to spend the better part of my day tending to my feed reader”.
Since I’m so overwhelmed the mere number of posts per week can be enough to move your blog from “to comment on”- to “not commenting on”-status. There are blogs that I love, bloggers whose comments on other people’s blogs (and mine) I love but I just can’t keep up with them. And so I scan most of their posts, read some, others more deeply, and rarely let them know how I think about any of them.
Of course I have become quite hesitant in adding new blogs to my list, and quite ruthless in throwing blogs out.
I remember when Mad stopped posting in August I felt sad but also relieved a bit. Her posts are so thoughtful and interesting that I felt I wanted to do each of them justice but I couldn’t do that every day. And when she came back I was happy, and even happier when she only posted two or three times a week. Of course, part of the problem is that I tend to like blogs with longer, more thoughtful posts.
Another part of the problem is that almost all of my social life happens through the computer. I have very few real-life friends, most of them live quite a distance away, and over the years with not much contact (because we all live very busy lives) I have the feeling that we have been drifting apart. Having been friends since university is not enough for that friendship to last for decades. Maybe we will get closer again, I don’t know, but for now the people I feel close to – apart from my husband and son – are people that I have never seen in real life. I’m only reading their words.
And while I love to get to know people mainly through their thoughts, something that is very unusual in real life, this kind of friendship does have severe limitations. Writing “((HUGS!!))” is not the same as a real hug. Though right now I’d rather have a virtual hug than none. On the other hand I’m living my life bound to my computer by invisible strands. I think it was Bubandpie who wrote that we maybe are drawn towards these “virtual” friendships because we are on some level not willing to commit to the real thing. On the other hand the feelings of friendship are real, and so is the friendship. It’s only very vulnerable.
As for me, I have the feeling that I really tried to find new friends around me, where I live, and still do try but I didn’t find any. (As for statistics, there were five women I tried to get to know better over the past five years. I suggested going out for coffee to all of them, one of them came to my house once, and that was it.) In this mommyblogger scene, on the other hand, there are so many interesting people writing interesting blogs that I don’t know where to start reading.
I was very relieved when Julie wrote that she is reading here often but never comments because that told me I’m not the only one. And I guess that she’s reading a lot of blogs since I see her comments everywhere and I liked them so much that I go over to her blog on a regular basis, contemplate subscribing, and then shy off. Because how could I read that without wanting to add to the discussion? And how could I add one more “blog to comment on” to my blogroll without feeling drowned in obligations?
So, it is time for the regular weeding of the blogroll. And it’s weird because every time I throw a blog out I’m sad and mostly, a few weeks later, I don’t think about it again. If I do though I will add it back.
So, I’m trying to read blogs mindfully. I won’t be commenting much. In fact, I haven’t commented much these past weeks. I even didn’t comment on De‘s last post which is unheard of. And I didn’t do it because the post wasn’t comment-worthy, I didn’t because I don’t feel like writing much these days. Also I was late as usual. It’s harder to find something to say when there have been a dozen people before you saying something.
Mad recently asked if we had any blogging rules. I seem to be in about the same spot as she (as her? sometimes English grammar eludes me). Here are mine:
- The computer gets turned off in the evenings at about seven o’clock. It can only be turned on again in case of dire emergencies such as “but I haven’t posted in a week and a half!”
- I won’t open a blog post unless I am in a situation where I can read it.
- When I want to comment on a blog post I have to do it right away. When this isn’t possible I can mark it as unread only twice. After that it is done.
- No blog reading before breakfast. (That’s the one I’m breaking very often.)
- On weekends I get to read blogs and write posts on one day only. On the other day time has to be spent with my real-life family. Even if this means sitting next to them knitting while they watch soccer.
- I am under no obligation to read everything.
- When I’m away, I’m away. I don’t have to catch up on my blog reading afterwards.
- The world won’t end when I haven’t posted in a while.
- When I’m sitting in front of my computer and a real person enters the room I will either say, “Not now, I will be getting to you when this is finished.” and then get up from the computer to talk to that person within the next twenty minutes. Or I will turn around and focus my attention on said person.
- When I spend an afternoon in front of the computer on weekends and such I will get up and look what the other family members are doing on a regular basis. Like every thirty minutes or so. For this I will set a timer. After it rings I won’t continue to sit in front of the computer for more than five minutes.
These are mostly blog reading rules. I also have a set of rules for blogging. Such as not showing pictures of my son, keeping him anonymous, only writing things about people that I wouldn’t mind them reading. Well, not much, anyway, I still haven’t told my parents about this and I didn’t give any student the url. And I have a mission statement! See.
Do you think there is such a thing as mindful blog-reading? My husband says that he couldn’t even keep up with all of the four blogs he was reading. He certainly is a mindful blog reader because I think he never forgets anything anybody ever wrote. While I, insatiable as ever, attempt mindfulness with about a hundred blogs. I’m really thankful that not everybody is posting every day, though.