July 31, 2009

how should I follow blogs now?

My online friends may have noticed that I haven't been commenting on your blogs much lately. Three things have conspired against me:

  • Work is crazy. Normally I'm a huge proponent of work-life balance, and in reality I still don't put in as many hours at work today as I did during the startup culture days of Geoworks when I was a 20-something. But they're intense hours, and work is actually terrific--love the job, love the people I work with and work for--and I have this truly huge project that could be something really special in my career. So there's that.
  • Jason Evans picked July for his contest. Writing the flash piece for the contest (yay me, a reader's choice second place finish sandwiched between the incomparable JaneyV and the illustrious Chris E!) was fun. So was reading and commenting on all 158 freakin' entries. But man, that takes time.
  • The IT folks at work decided to block netvibes through the firewall.
OK, that third one I can understand because I assume netvibes is a bandwidth hog. But it's meant that I no longer get notifications when friends post. So the question for all of you is:

If my company starts blocking feed reader sites, how should I follow your blogs? Is blogger's "follow" feature actually useful? Is there another feed reader I should try? Should I write it all down on a yellow pad?

Looking for your advice here, folks. Unless of course you are hoping I stay away from now on. Which I wouldn't blame you for.


Blogless Troll said...

I can't speak for anyone else, but I'd be willing to send you a homing pigeon whenever I update.

PJD said...

That could work, as long as you don't mind your pigeon ending up like this.

Precie said...

Eh, no help for you here. I'm already sporadic in my followings and commenting. I rely on Google Reader, but I think someone pointed out that it doesn't note updates to private blogs.

jjdebenedictis said...

I quite like Google reader, and I would think most workplaces would not block Google, so you might be safe with it for a long while.

JaneyV said...

I have a Blog List as a Gadget on my sidebar. You add the url of the blogs you follow and it updates and links to them from your own blog page. Would your work firewall block that?

Sarah Laurenson said...

Can't see blogs at work. I used to be able to circumvent that by using the e-mail follow up comments thingy, but now they've blocked that, too.

These days, I have links to blogs on my sidebar and see when they update. I still miss a lot of them somehow and I just don't have the time to read and comment on them all anyway.

Yes, the contest took a heck of a lot of time. I tried commenting on them all, but gave up and concentrated on reading them all and trying to comment on the ones who commented on mine.

I figure if I do my best to check in with my blogging buddies whenever I can, then that will have to be enough. Don't have the time to figure out how to clone myself.

Blogless Troll said...

That could work, as long as you don't mind your pigeon ending up like this.

Hmmmm. That could get expensive, what with the cost of replacement birds, training them, uploading the latest version of Street Atlas to the microchip embedded in its cerebral cortex, etc. Maybe I'll just upgrade to homing eagles. Or condors.

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

I rely on google reader - except it has been holding steady at 1000+ lately which is deceptive because I haven't marked it all read in months now so I think it is well into the 3000 range or something.

So yes google reader - but don't be like me - use the "mark all as read" function!!!

Unknown said...

Google Reader, and if you follow more than a couple of blogs, organize them into folders of categories. e.g., I've got Home Improvement, Green, Oakland, etc. If I get too backed up, I can quickly skim categories that are of more interest and use 'mark all as read' on the others.

I also have the Firefox plug-in Better GReader. I forget what all it does, but it has some nice options.

lahosken said...

Some of these newfangled "smart phones" have reader software. You could read blogs while driving!

McKoala said...

I use the 'follow' feature. I haven't been much of a commenter recently, but I usually do a quick scan of the titles and first few sentences that it gives me, so I have some idea of what's going on, even in a time press.

Robin B. said...

I signed on for using Google reader but I forget to use it, to be honest. I love the sidebar update things BT and Janey have on their blogs - so you know who's done what. Haven't done that either.

What I do is a but boring, but it works. When my Explorer is open, I keep my favortes open on the left - and my blog friends are listed there. I go down the list and click each to see what'as going on. That way I don't miss a click - and can check comments when it looks like there've been some, AND provate blogs are listed, so it's all good. That's what works for me.
'Plain old', in a manner of speaking.

pacatrue said...

I think it depends on how many blogs you follow. I do robin's old school method as well. Have a link on my blog and click on each link once a day and scan. If I don't put someone on that list because I'm lazy, then I very frequently forget to check on them.

Aniket Thakkar said...

I am sailing on a similar boat if not the same. :)

Haven't been able to visit everyone frequently. Getting no time to write. Mind feels numb after tiring work.

Luckily for me Google reader is not blocked at my place so I try to catch up with as many blogs as I can during breaks.

You can subscribe via mail using feed burner to at least a select few blogs you really like. You'll get the posts on your mail.

rustypants said...

i'm going to agree with others on the usefulness of Google Reader - i've been using it for well over a year and like it very much. my school district blocks blogs and personal websites, but not GR - i'm still able to follow my subscriptions (but not read comments, etc).

GR is also good for those of us who also use Chrome - it doesn't have RSS built in (i'm assuming so that you'll be forced to use GR).