Since I am an ardent fan of Google Reader, it was nice to see a good plug on it by Robert Scoble. But do read the rest: He reads 29 thousand items in 30 days. Even if that is 1 second per blog, it is 8 hours worth of reading. Looking at his blogroll, he reads blogs like Joel on Software which have non-trivial long posts. That is amazing – is that a record? I would be really interested in knowing how he is able to read so much and digest all that information.
Now, here is the kicker: Scoble also posts at the rate of 5-6 posts per day – stats as reported by Google Reader. Admittedly, some of the posts are short, trivial or personal, but, in my opinion, he has a very high percentage of relevant and informational posts. I have just completed reading “Naked Conversations” (on which I plan to write a review) and Scoble seems to be putting his advice in that book into action, especially the passion part.
His high volume of reading reminds me of a story:
There was a professor who would collect long papers from all of his students in the morning and return them with his comments in the afternoon. One of the students could not believe that he actually read all the material he received. So he inserted a sentence “I bet you don’t read everything” in the middle of his paper. When he got his paper back, the comments had a sentence “Oh, yes, I do!”
I now subscribe to around 50 feeds, but some of the posts are very detailed and tough to read. I usually star them for future reading during the weekend. In addition, there are some blogs that have information that can be used as reference. I use IE bookmarking (and recently, Live Favorites) to link to items that I want to read and keep or discard. Probably will write another post on bookmarks, but right now, for me, Live Favorites (better than) IE Bookmarks (better than) Google Bookmarks (better than) Del.icio.us (better than) Yahoo! Bookmarks. Yahoo! had a decade to get it right – what were they doing?
On reading blogs, the biggest problem is perhaps not actually reading a lot of posts – it is possible to divert more time to the activity. The real issue is assimilating that information into something meaningful. Some of the information can be easily processed – like if someone provides reasons to continue doing something you are already doing OR provides reasons against doing something you have already decided not to do. Reinforcement of ideas is good, but doesn’t add a lot of value.
It is more meaningful to learn something new or contrary to what you are doing now. Translating that into action is time-consuming because it involves changing personal habits or, when organization-specific, requires change management to be done carefully. Keeping a personal Task List or even creating a manifesto can help refine oneself or the organization.
In the last respect, it is very useful to remove some blog feeds periodically, especially the ones who have nothing new to say. The blogs that I really like are the ones where the author talks about different topics and writes at some length. The longer posts lays bare the writer’s thoughts – Since each person is unique, such posts usually provide some new insight or idea.