Trimming my Bloglines

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A little while back, I discussed the difficulties I was having managing my personal information flow, and off-handedly mentioned that I’d been dropping blogs. Well, it seems as if I’m not the only one who’s hypersaturated at this point, as both Andy Lark and Jon Udell (triangulated by the human inforouter, Steve Gillmor) have apparently been doing the same thing.

Beyond the obvious – total information overload – I wanted to be specific about how’s and why’s of the decisions in my case, because being dropped may be perceived as a slight, and it shouldn’t.

Most important of all, note that being dropped from my blogroll will likely mean next to nothing, given that my subscriber base is probably in the three to four hundred range (approx 300 on my various feeds, and maybe 60-80 regular non-aggregator visitors) – D list territory, in other words. Plus, I list everyone I read, with no exceptions, and the blogroll is one area where value is inversely proportional to scarcity. The net? Me dropping you is likely to a neglible impact at worst.

That may come as small consolation to folks with audiences in the single digits, however, but they should be aware that I’m more likely to drop the A-list folks than I am the individuals with just a few links. This isn’t altruism, it’s practicality. When there’s a post that I have to read from an A-lister, I’ll see almost inevitably see it, usually pretty quickly via other folks I subscribe to. This isn’t necessarily true with some of the folks with smaller audiences. So I expect my blogroll to grow more diverse and populated by niche bloggers, not less.

There will of course be exceptions where I unsubscribe from promising content simply because it’s not directly related to my coverage/interests. All I can tell those bloggers is that you’re in very, very good company. I’ve recently dropped both BoingBoing and Dan Gillmor not at all because their content isn’t good – they’re both brilliant – but because as much as I like the content, it’s not in my wheelhouse coverage-wise.

So I may be brutally unsubscribing to folks, but hopefully this will serve as an explanation as to why. If you need to get my attention but I don’t read you, there are several ways: comment here, use the ‘heyredmonk’ del.icio.us tag, or the contact info on the page.

And above all, remember that audience size != blog quality (or so I keep telling myself ;).


  1. excellent. Steven doesn't like links so you don't give him one. super. it will have to be technorati then.

    REALLY bad news on pinging, though of course the spam is killing us

  2. no, Steve G. got his link. the Jon Udell citation is to his blog.

    but, yes, bad news on the trackback but that's spam for you.

  3. i hope thats the blogroll *before* you cut down….

  4. Does anyone take any notice of blogrolls? I often discover new blogs when I follow a discussion back from a blog I'm already subscribed to, and sometimes I subscribe to them as well. But I ignore blogrolls because they just look like meaningless lists of cryptic names.

    And I can't see any point in publishing my blogroll either. I have lots of blogs I subscribe to, for various reasons. Some of them are good and insightful, and some of them are just there so I can get alerted to events. It's not particularly secret – if anyone wants to nose around Bloglines they can easily find my subscription list – but it doesn't mean anything.

  5. well Richard, i think it largely depends on a couple of things:

    1. how many people are on the blogroll
    2. what your relationship is with the owner of the blogroll (i.e. is it someone you respect enough to find new sources through?)

    in the case of #1, with someone like me who lists everyone, i agree. the value of the blogroll is minimal. for people that selectively and explicitly publish a small blogroll, however, i think, or know actually, that it does make a big difference.

    in the case of #2, i think generally you're correct that people don't notice. but i have on more than a few occasions paged through someone i respect's blogroll and found a couple of new sources.

    so really it's a mixed bag. sometimes it matters, often it doesn't. but when it does matter, i think, it really matters.

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