Interesting question from a fan of Vladville: How many blogs should I subscribe to and how often should I read them? Though the answer can vary slightly depending on who you are, how much spare time you have and how informed you really need to be the answer is pretty simple: you should subscribe to as few blogs as possible.
If you’re busy…
If you’re busy, blogs are a great way to cut through the marketing bs and get straight to the point. Best example of this is Microsoft which until recently even had a division named Microsoft BS (where BS actually stood for Business Solutions but their output more resembled of what you first thought of). Let’s look at Microsoft in the SMB sector specifically. You have at least a dozen product web sites, each associated with about 1-2 bloggers. You also have a Partner Program page, which has traditionally been the place to spend an afternoon looking for stuff. Both of the above put out an unbelievable number of webcasts, podcasts, conference calls and roadshows, all of which is great.
But if you only had a few minutes a day to keep your hand on the pulse of whats going on, you don’t really have to subscribe to anything other than mssmallbiz blog and the official sbs blog.
Why? Those will cover the really important things that are expanded on in product literature, release notes, mailing list posts, webcasts, podcasts, roadshows, etc. In terms of time savings, its easy to just look at two feeds than 50. Likewise, the odds are better that you’d actually read the 2 posts they made than just scrolling through 200 headlines not reading any one of them.
If you’re a hobbyist or professional…
Where hobbyist is defined by someone who does not make immediate commercial gain from reading the 400 blog posts a day. Where a professional is someone that cannot miss the details and experience that could down the road help avoid an all nighter to solve a problem known only to the one support member on the Exchange CSS team.
If you’re a hobbyist, the more is better. Throw all the feeds in the same category, then pull out the ones you actually read completely into a different one. I subscribe to a few hundred feeds but I only read maybe 20-30 of them a daily basis. The rest I skim through. I don’t pretend to be an expert at Virtual Server, but I’ve made a lot from the tips from their blogs over the time.
If you’re a professional, get in the habit of flagging interesting posts for further review. Let’s face it, if its important and a good tip to have you ought to give it a second look – perhaps even try it out. But you likely won’t do it on the spot if you’re just reading the RSS feeds on your way to work or in the line at Disney World
The trick with blog reading for fun and profit is that you need to adequately trim and organize your blog reading.
For everyone else..
Blogging is more about conversation than the news. It’s about finding out what other people are doing, posting your own opinion or blogging it for yourself. I manage this blog (Vladville) for all my partners that like to know what I’m up to, what I’m thinking and (by proxy) where OWN is heading. Susan’s blog is her personal filing system, she knows someone will eventually ask her about something so she sticks it into her blog. Some people blog about blogging. Some blog about their hobbies.
The trick to being successful with organizing your feeds is understanding why you are interested in particular subjects. I have a lot of my professional knowledge invested in the IW space, so I look at all the Exchange, VoIP, Mobility blogs. I also happen to do a little coding on the side so I have a lot of AJAX and .NET blogs though I frankly don’t look at them on even weekly basis. I also happen to subscribe to Engadget, with 50-100 posts a day. Guess how fast I hit page down on that one.
Blogs both save time and help you expand your knowledge. The secret to both is effectively filing your subscriptions and not giving everything the same attention and priority.