A few months ago I cleared my Google Reader of all blogs. All of them, even blogs of friends. I was going underground for a while to recharge, and while I knew there was a risk of the collapse of the Internet in my absence, I also knew that if I had that constant connection I would get sucked back in again. I did stay in contact some, but having to remember the web address and then type it in cut waaaaay back on time spent with the blogiverse.
Not only did I cut out the blogs I read, but I also cut out my own blog. I never checked stats, very seldom answered comments, let Akismet delete the spam unchecked. Shocking, I know.
How did I get so many blogs on my reader in the first place? Lots of reasons, I guess. This person commented: Subscribe! This person made me laugh: Subscribe! These people are in the publishing business: Subscribe, subscribe, oh yes, subscribe! I needed to build a platform for my burgeoning (now wilting) writing career. I needed to make connections for my fan base. I like having a discussion about a post, and using the comment system as a way to keep in touch with my blog friends, to show I care even if I haven't emailed in a while, to make new friends.
I ended up with over a hundred active blogs in my reader, and that might not seem like a lot, except that I was reading all of them, and trying to comment where I could. What started out as a perfectly reasonable plan became a huge obligation. It's easy to start taking in too much information without even noticing. Too much noise. I started to feel busy even though I wasn't getting anything done! So I deleted everything and started my personal Reset Button campaign, which I blogged about at Christmas. It's all about balance, people.
I've noticed lately that my subscriptions are climbing again. Having gone from one extreme to the other, I now know where I want the pendulum to come to rest. I like being connected, but on my own terms. So I'll keep my subscriptions, but here's the plan:
- Organize the blogs into friends, industry, humor, news etc. That way I don't have to go through all of them to see the ones I want. I had a rudimentary organization in place before the reset, but I hadn't made it a priority.
- Don't force any comment. Only comment if I have something I absolutely can't keep to myself, then keep it short and sweet. If it's bland, that's ok.
- Answer comments on my own blog in a new post. Lots of times I'd like to continue the discussion, but it seems each post is exclusive. This would be a good way to draw out longer and more interesting discussion, as well as more frequent posting.
- Clear the posts frequently. If I didn't read it two days ago, I ain't never gonna read it.
I'd like to issue a challenge to all my readers: Hit your own reset button. Think of an area in your life which is way out of balance. Brainstorm about ways to start over, cut back, or eliminate entirely. Take notes. Then blog about your progress, and pass it on. It's all about balance, people.