I spent a few hours today reorganising my RSS reader. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and an RSS reader, like Google Reader (which I use) means that you are informed when blogs are updated and don’t have to visit them individually to find out.
I follow a lot of blogs (yes, including interior design blogs, I am entering into ‘that’ stage of my life…) I’m unapologetic about the number of blogs that I follow. I do spend a reasonable amount of time looking at them which used to set up a frisson of guilt in me (Am I wasting time? Should I be doing something ‘more useful?’). In the end I just concluded that I was interested in certain subjects which other people wrote about so why feel guilty about garnering inspiration, information, advice and ideas. Actually, why feel guilty about being interested in someone’s life?
I am a ruthless culler of blogs too. I only keep the blogs that I look forward to reading, otherwise looking at my RSS reader turns into work. I also cull blogs that I enjoy, but which give me the feeling that my life is rubbish. These tend to be American blogs written by women whose children are perfect, husbands are perfect, houses are perfect, Christmases and birthdays were perfect… Likewise blogs that rejig the same tired ideas.
I signed up for a few more gardening blogs today because I am looking for places to write guest posts about scything for and by the time I had added them, the list of blogs that I follow was enough to give you a migraine. No more! I decided to put them into really simple folders according to their subject. Previously my folder titles had been things like ‘Inspiration’ and ‘Green Thinkers.’ They date from a time when I had many few blogs to follow, but even then they were a bit vague. Inspiration for what? Thinking about what?
Putting these blogs into categories was really interesting because when I was done I looked at it and thought, yep, those are my life interests. I thought through my diploma projects and considered whether I followed blogs about all of those subjects. The answer was, almost all of them – coppicing, preserving and scything didn’t get a folder of their own but they fit in under rural skills and food. One area that I did notice was missing was general life design, livelihood design and blogs about money. These are all things that I am working on very hard in my diploma and yet they weren’t represented in my blog-roll. I think this is because I still find the idea of talking about, thinking about or designing for financial rewards a bit gross – the way I felt about marketing before I discover Marketing for Hippies. I’ve signed up for finance/entrepreneurial blogs in the past and always unsubscribed because I didn’t read them because it made me feel icky. I need to find someone who is talking about these things in a way that I am willing to listen to. Any ideas? They need to be funny and directed towards money-phobes. I’m also looking for some life-coaching/life-organisation blogs that don’t make me want to be sick. Help gratefully received…
After I had taken the picture above, I went and looked at these folders and put the ones with some connection to each other next to each other. Really, they all have connections to each other in my head, but I wanted to draw out the most important ones. Gardening, foraging and permaculture went next t each other and also next to food. Photography and graphic design went next to each other and were also linked to lifestyle.
I have decided to read them in a different way too. Instead of clicking on the feed for the individual blog and seeing a stream of posts just from that blog, I have decided to click on the category – e.g. Food. This will show me posts from all of the blogs in that category in the order that they were updated. Doing it this way means that it’s much harder to discern immediately which blog you are reading. This is useful because it means that I can see which blogs broadcast their individuality immediately. For example, I predict that in the ‘food’ category I will be able to recognise Smitten Kitchen immediately because while the pictures are good but not amazing, the writing is hilarious (which is, I have to say, unusual for a lot of the blogs that I read). I also predict that I will be able to recognise What Katie Ate immediately because of her distinctive photographic style. This sort of observation is really useful for developing my writing and photographic style.