I just spent some time cleaning up my Bloglines subscriptions. I was finishing up my daily ritual of reading various blogs and new sources when I realized how sucky it felt.

Reading feeds used to be fun. And interesting. And decidedly not like "work" at all.

So I spent a few minutes reviewing my feed list. If I couldn't remember the last time I learned something from a given source or was entertained by reading it, I unsubscribed.

That included a number of "high profile" bloggers in the echo echamber who used to be interesting but have become to wrapped up in trying to tell others how they should do things, folks who merely repeat memes and "hot" stories, and so on. So often I would just look at and think "who cares about this shit?" and click on to the next feed. No more.

In looking over what was left after my slash and burn effort, I realized what was going on. I like to read what interesting people write. The less they write about their jobs (genrally speaking), the better. Most of those who are preaching and/or wannabe journalists didn't make the cut.

It's funny how you can be stuck in a rut for a long time without ever realizing it. I'm going to keep doing this pruning until reading is enjoyable again. I think I got pretty close in this one pass.

Posted by jzawodn at August 28, 2006 09:49 PM

Reader Comments
# Didier DURAND said:

To go in your directions:

What you explain here looks to me like the "Long Tail syndrom": in his book, C . Anderson says that the top quality (in terms of focus and specificity) is most oftenin the back of the Long Tail but burried with lots of junk.

Most bloggers want to move up the Tail: as Anderson says, to do that and reaches masses, they have to go to more average topics concerning more people.

Then, the consequence is probably what you feel!

on August 28, 2006 10:20 PM
# Christian Cadeo said:

I am with you on this. I was up to about 300 feeds and honestly it became a chore to read all of it. In fact, I dreaded the evening sometimes as my que would be completely out of control and I would spend about 3 hours to read everything. That part that sucks is I would say that 50% was just dupe from something else.

Anyway, I have began to trim it down, but it has been quite difficult as you always feel that you might be eliminating that one gold nugget. For the most part, if I have techmeme, digg and techcrunch as my news feed, I will caputure about 85% of the stories of the day. That leaves me with the other 15% for bloggers who are interesting and talk about stuff that is not dupe of anyone else.

I am down to about 200 with the hope of getting it down to 100 if applicable.

on August 28, 2006 10:21 PM
# Brock said:

That's why yours is one of the few tech blogs that I still read. Your "link to another blog and comment briefly on something somebody else has written" to "something new to think about" ratio is pretty good (you mostly use your linkblog for the former -- and when you use your main blog for it, you usually weigh in at some length on the discussion). I stopped reading Scoble a few months ago when I realized that a whole page of his blog (what, 20 posts?) was pretty much all the former. No thanks.

on August 28, 2006 11:57 PM
# Dan Isaacs said:

I'm way ahead of you, Z. I just never got involved in so many blogs I needed to use feeds. If I can't grok the zietgiest from the 10-15 blogs I can read the old fashioned way (the way they were published) then I don't really need to grok it.

It's all info pr0n anyway. Very little is essential to anything in our lives. I suspect you'd be equally served by the Discovery Channel. Or in your case, Discovery Wings.

on August 29, 2006 04:57 AM
# josheli said:

Bye bye Seth Godin!

on August 29, 2006 06:08 AM
# Joshwa said:

Do you by any chance make your Bloglines subscriptions public?

e.g. http://bloglines.com/public/joshwand

I bet others would be interested to know your reading list...

on August 29, 2006 06:45 AM
# mark evans said:

i couldn't agree with you more. it's not just the reading of blogs that has troubled me but my own blog posts. over the past few weeks, i've been trying to make a concious effort not to jump on the "meme bandwagon". instead, i've gone back to my original focus, which was to blog about things that interested me and, hopefully, interested other people. it may cause my technorati rating and feedburner numbers to decline but that's perfectly alright.

cheers, mark

on August 29, 2006 07:44 AM
# Jamie McCarthy said:

I think everyone subscribes one blog at a time, and unsubscribes in bulk. There needs to be a word for weeding out the less-important news sources in your life. What's the word? Deblogging? Unreading? ("I'm so busy, I really should unread soon." "You heard that where? Oh, I unread him a year ago.")

on August 29, 2006 07:51 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


Heh. I like that. "deblogging" could be the act of unsubscribing. Then we can use "unread" for things we never read because of deblogging. :-)

on August 29, 2006 08:11 AM
# jr said:

Yeef. You're unsubscribing from every feed that doesn't entertain or enlighten? If everyone were to do that, I don't think I'd ever have any readers.

oh wait,...

on August 29, 2006 10:01 AM
# Ryan said:

Hey Jeremy, when you finally get it down, you should post who made the final cut.

it's always interesting to see what blogs the people whose blogs i read read.

on August 29, 2006 10:21 AM
# Vijay Chandran said:


Lolzz here is the people who made the final cut in jeremy.

on August 29, 2006 11:43 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Vijay: Yeah, some of those likely won't last more than another week either.

on August 29, 2006 12:06 PM
# Adam said:

>>Bye bye Seth Godin!

Same to GapingVoid...when I was doing some similar trimming I noticed that people with the higher posting frequencies tended to become the least interesting the quickest (with a few exceptions of course). And now that I write it out it makes complete sense.

I'm all for starting the trend of letting posts marinate a bit longer - top of the tail bloggers shouldn't feel like they have to post multiple times a day - I'd much rather read 1-2 solid posts a week from my favorite authors than trying to keep up with the flood that Godin and Hugh are producing.

on August 29, 2006 01:02 PM
# Ed said:

Haha...that's the *after* list?

Really, do you have time to work too?

on August 29, 2006 07:32 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

That's the "always current" list, so yeah. But like I said, there's more pruning to be done.

Of course, there could be private feeds in there too. Obviously you don't get to see those.

on August 29, 2006 08:54 PM
# Akshay Java said:

Hi Jeremy, We recently conducted a study
of Bloglines publicly listed subscriptions and found that most people dont 'clean up' or update their feeds that often.
From the OPML files of the subscriptions we created a prototype service "Feeds that Matter"
One of the reasons why I wanted something like "Feeds that matter"
was that it was really difficult for me to find good quality blogs on a topic. Hopefully this will help you find some new and interesting feeds to add to your bloglines account after the cleanup. ;-)

on August 30, 2006 07:39 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


Very cool. There's some good stuff in there.

on August 30, 2006 10:33 PM
# Brian Duffy said:

Using Firefox live bookmarks solves this problem for me. Instead of yet another inbox interface to wrestle with, I just put a "Blogs" folder on my bookmark toolbar and stick live bookmarks in it.

So instead of an out of control feedreader, I have a list of interesting blogs whose titles I can peruse at leisure, without the "guilt" that you feel when you aren't caught up feeds in a feed reader.

I also have other folders with Feeds for things like IBM patch releases for the product that I work with, the del.icio.us popular page, and the status feed for my webhost.

on August 31, 2006 11:29 AM
# Ask Bjørn Hansen said:

Jeremy: Geez, you certainly have way too many feeds! :-)

I have used another "solution" to the problem for the last few years which I really need to write about ... One of these days.

- ask

on August 31, 2006 05:42 PM
# Jeffrey Friedl said:

I'm not sure if I should be happy that my blog is still there (under "Friends"), or disappointed that it's not filed under "Smart People".

I guess reporting on my three-year-old's "I have a tail" commet doesn't count as NobelPrize-winning science.... :-)

on August 31, 2006 08:53 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Heh. I've been wondering how long it'd take for someone to comment on my amazingly haphazard system of putting labels on the feeds I read.

on August 31, 2006 09:21 PM
# jer said:

I know exactly what you mean.

One thing I started doing that really helped me is to completely remove any of the feeds I was reading that don't come from individual people, or don't contain mostly original conentent.

If a site I like had multiple authors, I'd subscribe to the individuals who I actually found engaging, and simply forego the rest.
No more slashdot, no more digg, no more boingboing, etc.

Then I started adding the feed of anyone who bothered to comment on something I wrote, and began reading their posts (at least for a while), and commenting when appropriate. Then I'd see interesting comments on THOSE posts, and would add those people. Rinse repeat.

The idea being, that soon I'd have enough interesting individuals producing content that I should see at least some of the more interesting things that I would have seen via the big link aggregators, albeit a bit later.

It has been working out pretty well for me so far... And ended up with you in my blogroll.

on September 2, 2006 05:10 PM
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. My current, past, or previous employers are not responsible for what I write here, the comments left by others, or the photos I may share. If you have questions, please contact me. Also, I am not a journalist or reporter. Don't "pitch" me.


Privacy: I do not share or publish the email addresses or IP addresses of anyone posting a comment here without consent. However, I do reserve the right to remove comments that are spammy, off-topic, or otherwise unsuitable based on my comment policy. In a few cases, I may leave spammy comments but remove any URLs they contain.