Monday, June 4, 2007

Blog Posts vs. % Actually Read

DISCLAIMER: This post has nothing to do with New York, but it's something that bothers me, so in the spirit of the blogosphere, I'm venting. Feel free to stop reading at any time.

When will blogs realize that frequent posting does not lead to engaged readers?

Data is provided for the top 40 most frequently updated blogs over the last 30 days, according to Google Reader's trends feature. The chart was created using Google Docs and Spreadsheets.

There are two things to notice:

  1. I read less than half of the items from blogs that submit more than 10 items per day.

  2. I read at least 40% of the items from blogs that submit fewer than five items per day.

I read 100+ blogs a day, as do a lot of people I know (sometimes many more). One thing I've noticed is that some blogs (and it always seems like it's the professional bloggers, especially Gawker blogs) decide they should post 30+ items a day. What could they possibly have to write so much about?

Maybe their scope is too all-encompassing, maybe they follow too many stories, maybe the writers just get bored, or maybe management is pressing them to write more so they earn their paychecks. But as a lowly reader of these blogs, let me assure you, there is such a thing as too many blog posts. In fact, there's nothing that gets me to unsubscribe faster than seeing a ton of posts from one source. Gizmodo and Engadget are notorious postcount++'ers, and when I unsubscribed from both about two months ago it felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders.

I got so sick of Lifehacker's noise that I made my own trimmed version of the feed using Yahoo! Pipes that tries to filter out some of the noise.

The blogs that I tend to read most often (and by that I mean actually read) are the ones that post the most infrequently, and they're the ones I tend to enjoy reading more just because they tend to put more time and energy and research into each post. Schneier on Security and I, Cringely and The Daily WTF are some of my favorite blogs, and they post at most a few items each week. They don't badger me with posts every five minutes, and as a result when they have something to say it's usually something worth reading.

If you're a Reader user, go to your trends page and see if your reading habits are anything like mine. Post your findings in the comments.

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